"Jesus, Tex - emotional whiplash, much?!"
Yeah, I know - sorry about that. But I wanted to write about him and to share him with you guys, and this seemed like a good day to do it.
The funny thing is, I never actually got to meet Toast. He belonged to one of my best buddies' parents, all the way up in Minnesota. But I got pictures of him on the regular - my buddy, Frank, is a devoted GrammatiCats photographer - and status updates on him and the other cats through our email pen-pal-ship. It was hard to read about his last trip to the vet, though of course not nearly as hard as it must have been to take him there.
It's interesting, though, isn't it - how we can get genuinely attached to pets and people we've never personally met. How they aren't 'just' pictures or voices or characters on TV. How we can feel really connected to them, even if we've never spent a minute in their company.
|Yeah, you knew I was going here.|
But the cool thing is, the longer you 'know' one of these long-distance people, and the more you see and hear about them, the more data points you have to paint an accurate portrait of what they're really like. Your mental picture gets richer, more real - and even though it may never match the kind of intimate understanding you would have if the two of you were close personal friends, the feelings you have can be every bit as profound.
So as sad as I am not to have met them personally, I'm also incredibly glad I got to have Leonard Nimoy as my Twitter-grandpa, and Toast as my pen-pal cat. They go with Carl Sagan, Robin Williams, Mr. Rogers, and our old dog Chip on the list of People I Will Miss Forever (Even If They Weren't Technically People).
It's a bittersweet feeling, knowing that that list will only get longer as I get older. But more than anything, I'm tremendously grateful that we humans are wired to find ourselves everywhere, and to enjoy epic friendships - furry, fictional, or fannish - even with those who never knew our names. It's a heck of a blessing, and they are a tremendous gift.
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.