Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Cat and the Tree of Life

When Oriental rug dealers die, they are often reincarnated as cats. How else to explain the talent of most cats for finding the most expensive woven item in the house and peforming The Dance of 20 Sabres upon it?

We always have a runner in our front hallway, in the ultra-high traffic zone between the front door and anywhere else in the house. We've had a rust-colored dhurrie from Pottery Barn, a cheap Berber-style remnant from the local carpet warehouse, and special dirt-resistant looped rug from Land's End. Briefly, last spring, we had a green-gold-and-burgundy Tree of Life runner from Pottery Barn via eBay.

The Tree of Life was made of thick, plush wool and, unlike any of the other carpets, it mesmerized the cats. Every few days one of them would leap onto it and shred, tear, and knead as if possessed. The following day I would vacuum up the loose threads and trim the dangling ones. After about a month of this, I decided the carpet was too dark for the livingroom, and too vulnerable to cats, and I took it to DA Burns to be cleaned and then put it into storage.

This fall I cleaned and retired the white Berber runner, and, obviously having forgotten about the Tree of Life problems, brought the Tree of Life out of storage. It was, of course, still way too dark for the livingroom decor. Before I could take action, a cat set to work on it in ways I won't describe, but which were far worse than clawing. Zorg rushed the carpet to DA Burns the following morning. When I brought it home, I unrolled it for a quick photo, rolled it back up again, and then put it up for sale on Craig's List at a very reasonable price (we'd just about recoup the cleaning expense).

This time, instead of attracting insane cats, The Tree of Life attracted insane people. The first person who expressed interest in it kept sending me questions, one at a time. She wanted several additional pictures taken. I unrolled the carpet on top of the washer and dryer, took detailed photos, and sent them to her. The final question from Madame Carpet Princess, in its entirety, was "Do you think I could get a better deal online?"

I went on to the second buyer.

After sorting through a number of flakes, I made phone arrangements with a very pleasant woman who was going to come by to view, and possibly buy, the Tree of Life runner at 2 p.m. today. A few minutes before she arrived I ran downstairs to tidy up the laundry room for the best possible viewing. I nearly had heart failure when I saw the carpet. I had left it unrolled on top of the washer and dryer overnight and a cat had attacked it! There were shredded carpet fibers everywhere. Grabbing vacuum and scissors, and feeling like a character in a bad sit-com, I quickly coiffed it back into shape -- and just in time.

The Tree of Life has gone to a new home. I didn't ask if they have cats.

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