I learned long ago that there’s no point in arguing with people who are determined to be unreasonable. It’s a skill that comes in handy when dealing with wacky-and-not-in-a-good-way family members and also with irate customers whose sweet nothings gently tickle my eardrums during my day job as a customer care representative.
Unfortunately, it takes a lot of emotional energy to smile and nod and keep myself from screaming "WTF ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, YOU FOAMING-AT-THE-MOUTH SCREAMING-AT-THE-SKY DRUNK-ASS WHACKJOB?" or saying, "Well, if you’d just quit bitching for a second and listen to me, maybe I could help you!"
It’s not healthy to keep all that crap inside, though. Loud music works wonders for me, but sometimes I just can’t blast punk rock until the paint blisters off the walls. On those occasions, I ask myself, "If I were a cat, how would I react to this situation?" Or, to put it more succinctly, "What Would Kitty Do?"
Here are a few sample scenarios where I’ve asked myself, "WWKD?"
Situation No. 1: Crappy downstairs neighbor
A new tenant recently moved into the apartment just below mine. This guy has an unfortunate habit of blasting bad music — not just bad music, mind you, but the most utterly sucktastic tunes ever, played on the crappiest sound system ever — just about the time I’m ready to relax and unwind after a long day.
My response: I’ve heard him have screaming fights with people, so I don’t want to put myself in his sights by making a polite request to keep the volume down. I have been known to put on my hard-soled boots and walk heavily across my (hardwood) floors. It seems to have the effect of reminding him for at least a few minutes that someone lives upstairs.
What Would Kitty Do? That would depend on whether the cats could get out of the apartment. If they could, I imagine some strategic urine spraying would be in order. Of course, this would strictly be a territorial response, because said neighbor also smells really bad. If they, like my cats, couldn’t get out of the apartment, I imagine they’d wait until I left for work and begin knocking down heavy and/or breakable objects until the neighbor’s hangover begs for mercy.
Situation No. 2: Rude driver
I’m at a busy intersection with a signal that has a green arrow for left turning traffic. I’m in the left-turn lane, and I’m the second car in line. As soon as the first person clears the intersection, a guy in a very expensive SUV, who has the red light and knows that other traffic is moving through the intersection, decides he’s so very important that he needs to make his turn against the light, nearly creaming me in the process.
My response: Beep my horn and give a "WTF" gesture. (Keep in mind that I never beep my horn unless the circumstances really demand it, and a near-miss accident where the other driver would clearly be at fault qualifies as one of those circumstances.)
What Would Kitty Do? Wail on the horn and chase the offending vehicle into a corner, then commence a growling, hissing, screaming stare-down, which could end very badly for the offending driver. In case you’re wondering, this is why cats don’t drive: They’re easily stimulated to the point of road rage.
Situation No. 3: Unhelpful customer-care rep
I’m on a chat with a customer-care representative from a financial institution, trying to get some clarification about an issue related to an account. I’ve rephrased my question half a dozen ways and still haven’t gotten an answer. Finally after getting the same non-answer each time, I finally say something like, "So, what I understand is [account fact]." The CSR chats back: "I understand why that’s important to you."
My response: Laugh until I cry. Type "Thank you for your assistance" despite the fact that the CSR’s responses have been anything but helpful. But I’ve been so stressed out about this issue that the total non sequitur of the scripted response gave me some desperately needed comic relief.
What Would Kitty Do? Walk across the keyboard multiple times leaving equally nonsensical chat messages:
CSR: Hi, my name is Name, how can I help you?
Cat: Fdasp viry7ewt568 # r%^ftivRFTFFTFU
CSR: Let me see if I can help you with that. To confirm your identity, can I have the last four digits of your social security number?
Cat: $#($(QWV ##220958q[98
CSR: I’m not sure I understand you.
CSR: I understand why that’s important to you.
Wash, rinse, repeat, until CSR finally realizes he’s met someone who speaks less English than he does.
What about you? Do you imagine how your cat would react to a ridiculously annoying situation? Share your favorite WWKD scenarios in the comments — and if there’s a demand, maybe I’ll start selling rubber bracelets that read WWKD!
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About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their award-winning cat advice blog, Paws and Effect, since 2003.