COLUMNISTS

It's good to laugh when gaslighting yourself

Susan Manzke

I’m going to try to tell you about an odd thing that happened to me recently, but first I have to lead you into it.

Susan stands by her Singing Bird Clock.

My sister and girlfriend wanted to send me a gift before my operation. They ruled out all kinds of things, mostly edibles. They settled on a battery-operated bird songs clock. During daylight hours, it chirps bird calls: robin, blue jay, chickadee, mourning dove, etc.

Once I was sitting in the kitchen when one of the birds sounded. My daughter, Rachel laughed because she watched me look out the window for the bird.

If you follow me on Facebook or connect with my blog, you might have seen many videos of my two cats, Car-E and Barn-E. Their antics make me laugh so I try to capture their wrestling and share the videos with my followers—they often look at the clock when it chirps, too.

My cat videos have these two tussling with each other, racing around the house.

The big cat, Car-E, was rescued two years ago. Barn-E’s rescue occurred last August. He’s quite a bit smaller than Car-E. Sometimes it looks like Barn-E is being mauled. He often cried so loud, that I went and rescued him from his big brother – the same mother but an unknown father.

After breaking up the brawl, the cats would separate and head for different rooms. The breakup never lasts long. It’s usually Barn-E who creeps back and attacks his big brother. He starts beating up Car-E but that soon turns and the big cat takes over again. I never break up a match if it is started by Barn-E, even if he cries out. I figure he intended to keep the active play going—no matter who starts it, their rough play is fun to watch and record.

I was about ready to take an operation-recovery nap when my two cats started to play on their cat tower. Since my cell phone was right next to me, I grabbed it to capture the cat play.

With a click, I turned off the television so the cats could play without audio interruption. Just as the cats were about to wind up their playtime, the cuckoo clock sounded in the kitchen and the bird clock chirped in the living room. I didn’t stop recording this time. The little interruption wouldn’t take away from the fun cat action.

Car-E rests on top of the cat tree while his little nemesis, Barn-E, enjoys a patch of sunlight on the floor.

I took my nap and forgot about the recording.

I’m still not up to doing a lot of blogging since my operation. When I don’t have the energy, I use fun cat videos to fill the gap. It was time to upload the cats on the cat tower.

It didn’t record as others had in the past and wouldn’t let me post the 34-second video on my blog. I kept deleting and reloading it from my phone to my computer, but it wouldn’t work as I had hoped.

Finally, in frustration, I walked away from my computer. It was time to heat soup broth for my lunch.

That’s when I heard loud twittering from outside the kitchen window. I looked and looked. It was so loud it had to be sitting on the nearby feeder.

I turned off the noon news so I could hear where that bird was—I knew it couldn’t be the bird song clock as it wasn’t near the hour when it would tweet. (I did check it just to see if it went bonkers.)

Every so often, the bird chirped again and again. I figured the poor thing must be trapped somewhere. Maybe it had come inside with me when I had come in from the porch.

I checked other rooms, even the basement. There was no sign of the chirping bird.

As I sat down to sip my soup, I clicked my computer back on. There, in the background was the recording of my two cats playing. At the very end, the living room clock chirped and became the only audio on the video.

That was the chirping bird I had searched the house for! I had gaslighted myself. I laughed and made sure the video stopped running.

It was time to write about my crazy day.

If you want to check out the video, go to my blog https://susanmanzke.net/2022/04/22/cats-again/ or my YouTube site https://www.youtube.com/shorts/vPsu2dNmFig. It’s called Crazy Cats/again.

Susan Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165; sunnybook@aol.com; susanmanzke@gmail.com; www.susanmanzke.net/blog.