The other day at the vet’s office, I ran into a woman I used to work with at a college. I was in line with my newly toothless dog* and she was at the register, waiting to check out.
“Oh, Amy? Amy my former colleague?” I asked, knowing full well that it was indeed Amy my former colleague.
“Hi…” she said HELLA tentatively, very clearly not remembering who I was.
“Amy!” I admonished. “I get that I’m 3.5 years older than the last time I saw you, and many, many pounds heavier, and my face has not quite held up to the past year’s emotions, but YA KNOW ME. I took photos of you for the alumni magazine! I endangered two of your children by taking them off-roading in a golf cart! I helped your husband, the staff farmer, wrangle sheeps!”
She still ain’t recognize me, but she tried to be friendly.
“Yes, right. How are you?” she asked.
“Great,” I answered. “The vet just pulled a bloody broken tooth out of me dog’s smelly head. What’s good with you?” As I asked, I noticed a very petite cat carrier at her feet and deduced there had to be a very petite cat within. I bent down and confirmed it.
“YOU’VE AN ADORABLE KITTEN!” I screamed.
“I do!” she nodded, now friendly for real. “Eight weeks old. She’s a bunny killer.”
Chico, my dog, was sniffing the cage and the kitten hissed at him. I pulled him back like, holy shit, that is a goddamn bunny killer in there. I’d never heard of such a thing.
(Note: Most of the previous dialogue was made up, but the following conversation is verbatim.)
“A bunny killer?” I asked. “That’s crazy! How many bunnies has she killed?”
Amy looked at me but didn’t respond, then turned back to the woman behind the counter to finish checking out. I waited a few moments for a lull in their exchange before continuing my interrogation.
“Like, full-grown bunnies or baby bunnies? How does she get to them?”
Again, Amy just looked at me. She seemed confused and I realized that I’d misunderstood her. I was acting as if it was a bad thing, this bunny-killing kitten of hers, but she and her husband were farmers. Bunnies were a nuisance in their world. They probably got this cat specifically to kill bunnies, so they could eat them or something.
“Oooh, did you get this cat specifically to kill bunnies?” I asked.
Again, she looked at me. At this point—maybe three minutes into my questioning—I could tell she definitely didn’t feel like talking about it. BUT THEN WHY BRING IT UP AT ALL, AMY?!?!?
“Wait, so, has she even killed any rabbits yet?” (This time I used “rabbits” instead of “bunnies,” to sound more professional.)
Finally, she answered me. “You… you keep talking about killing bunnies. But all I said was ‘she’s an itty bitty kitten.’”
“OoOoOoOoOohhhhhhhhhhh,” I said, very embarrassed. “Yes, she is a small cat.”
She finished paying her bill and nodded goodbye and left.
*Here’s a picture of Chico’s mouth.