Ed. note: “The Miss Jobless Chronicles” is a weekly series written by Caitlin O’Toole. Read all the posts in the “Miss Jobless” series here.
Oh god. I think I’m about to become one of those crazy cat ladies.
I’m an insomniac. Around 2am, I engage in very torturous activity. I troll the pets section of craigslist. There are desperate pleas from animal shelters that, because of space, can no longer keep their dozens of pit bulls and cats. Tons of the unwanted dogs and kitties are euthanized each morning unless people (suckers) come forward on their behalf. Riley, known as number A847707, will be put down at 8am unless I call and save him! It’s 2:23, I have some time! Maybe I can take Molly too? And Jonah?
There are zillions. Rex. Pebbles. Maddy. Bear. Patches. Jane. Marlene.
They’re usually wearing pink boas and bows in their pictures, posing in front of ADOPT ME signs that look like they were painted by second graders. Many of them are injured, missing limbs or eyes, have extra toes, worms, upper respiratory infections, or are FIV+. Others are simply horrific to look at.
Sometimes I go so far as to write emails, fill out applications and call to save them. I usually hang up — remembering that I am unemployed and that though I have time to take care of them, I have no money. And I have two cats that really would be much better off if they weren’t eaten alive by stray dogs.
Un/underemployment has brought out the nurturer in me. I want to adopt litter after litter of neglected kittens and pit bulls.
If only I could save one … maybe the lambs would stop screaming …
My therapist and I have talked about this ad nauseam.
“Why do you think you have a need to do this?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you really not know?”
“I’m thinking … give me a second.”
“Why don’t you just NOT look at the listings?”
Brilliant! And it only cost me $150 to get that life-altering piece of advice.
To compensate for my urge to adopt every crusty old pit bull and one-eyed, five-toed, worm-infested cat I see on craigslist, I obsessively scour the “free” section of the site. And I collect shit. Because it’s free. And I’m under-employed. And free shit is fun.
Lookie here! Free vinyl, printers, pixie haircuts, cats, Brazilian keratin treatments, burlap coffee bags, Lazy Boys, adult diapers, pianos, a glazed ham, a breast pump, and thickened milk and juice for dysphagia patients.
My apartment is a monument to free shit from craigslist. I have three mannequins; a printer that is bigger than my desk (and doesn’t even work); a dusty old fax machine; a subwoofer, a broken drum machine; an old-school Casio keyboard; the complete works of Sam Shepard and a dusty, stinky old copy of August Strindberg’s “Miss Julie”; Warhol posters in broken frames; utensils; a blender; candles; a faded, orange striped Abercrombie and Fitch sweater; an upright vacuum; and a pimped-out chrome purple banana seat bike.
Oh don’t get me wrong I’m no mooch. I give shit away too. I pay it forward. Sometimes, to rid my apartment of clutter, I give away “mystery bags” of crap. The last mystery bag I gave away consisted of a small jar of honey, an Obama button, hand sanitizer, last month’s issue of Maxim, and a votive candle. Someone actually picked it up, and it warmed my cockles knowing I had made someone’s day.
Oh! It’s 12:24am and I have dogs to save! More later…
Caitlin O’Toole is a New York City-based writer and editor. A native of Washington, D.C., she began her illustrious journalism career as a Washington Post paper girl. She has since written and edited for Sesame Workshop Digital, Star Magazine, The National Enquirer, Glamour, People.com, Parade.com and Washington’s City Paper. Her work has also been featured on Fox News, ABC, MTV and VH1. She lives in Chelsea with her two cats, Lucy and Ethel. She can be reached for work at her LinkedIn page.