Not today, little buddy. Well, not that I know of, at least.

The used-up, former roll of packing tape was still in the dispenser, its replacement sitting right next to it, on the ready. Close by, another smaller, disposable tape/dispenser still had plenty left on it before needing to replace the roll in the larger unit.

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©2013 Chris Kim A

Most of the (now) empty roll had been used up in the last move a few years ago.

The loud, distinctive sound of the adhesive side ripping free from its wrapped self-restraint isn’t a particularly pleasant sound, anyway, but it appeared to be an extremely unpleasant one for my cat, Spot. Quite likely, it was the combination of the sharp, daggar-like noise of that sound along with my heightened emotional state hustling to get things packed for an unplanned relocation that had as much to do with his reaction—but clearly, it was a much-less-than-pleasant experience for him, overall.

That subsequently presented a bit of a problem every other time I would use the dispenser. He would put his ears back, gazing at me, wide-eyed, with a bit of panic slightly coloring his furry countenance. Since circumstance had required he be an indoor cat from the time I’d gotten him as a kitten, I always tried to at least give him the most consistent best experience that being stuck living with me could offer as often as I could.

So, keeping in mind that he likely associated that sound with a complete upheaval of his confined reality, I tried to at least give him some assurances every other time that wasn’t the case:

“It’s okay, Spotty, we’re not moving. Not today, little buddy. Well, not that I know of, at least.”

When we moved into this place, I promised him that I wouldn’t put him through it again. In all fairness, though, in the eighteen years he and I were together, I only put him through that reality upheaval twice (quite thankfully for both of us).

It’s been nearly two years since his passing, and this old, used up tape roll core has been sitting on the corner of my drawing table, waiting for the recycle bin—much like the bit melancholia that I’ve left adhered to it. The process of grieving the loss of my mom a few months before his became intertwined with grieving his loss along the way.

Understanding that it is a process, however, has been surprisingly useful in practice, as it turns out.

Being patient with it (the process, the loss, and myself), while trying to be sternly earnest about doing what I can muster to move myself forward beyond it has been an understandable challenge over these last couple of years. It feels as though I have much more patience for others in this way, than I do with myself. Having the tremendous blessing of loving family and friends’ love and support has been a great facilitator in maintaining the useful perspective that it is just a part of my experience, and is not the sum total of it.

Now that I’ve encapsulated it in this documentation, perhaps I can move on to up-cycle it in a project, or at least send it along for recycling. Either way, it’s on its way up, along with my attitude (and maybe even my outlook), which has been due for a major overhaul/up-cycle quite long enough.

And, ironically, I’m at another major point where circumstance and opportunity may be conspiring for me to relocate once again—and very likely all the way back home to Missouri (finally, just as had been the plan when I moved to spend a year in L.A.). The difference being that this time, it will be my idea, and as much on my terms as I’ve left possible. It will also be more than 30 years or so later than I thought it would be.

Huh. Maybe I’m more patient with myself than I thought.


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