Responsibility

November 26, 2006

In the past whenever I have had to be gone for more than a day I have asked a woman in the apartment office to empty the litter for me. This a person that Michele had become friends with and who always gladly takes on the task for me. Last week in preparation for being out of town for nearly five days I asked her once again to stop in and check on Taz and empty the litter.

She explained that she would be off Friday through Sunday, but that she'd have one of the girls in the office stop by and take care of it. I agreed and left it at that. Yesterday, Saturday evening, I called my voice mail at home and received a message from one of the "girls in the office" telling me that they had been "too busy" on Friday to check my cat and might be too busy again on Saturday to fulfill their responsibility.

Getting the message that my cat was being ignored, and having that message delivered in a rather cheerful, cavalier tone, while I was 400 miles away did not set will with me. After stewing for several minutes I called the office and left a rather terse message on their voice mail system. In no uncertain terms I expressed my displeasure that the responsibility they had been entrusted with had not been met. Their machine actually cut me off in mid sentience and I had to call back and leave a second message.

We debated returning from Illinois in the middle of the night, but once I had vented over the phone I was able to convince myself that Taz would be okay, and that even if the two litter boxes were full, that the worst she'd do is crap on the carpet somewhere. After a long and somewhat restless night the return trip to home was uneventful.

Shortly afternoon I received a new voice mail message on my cell phone from the apartment office explaining that the litter had in fact been emptied on Saturday. It would have saved me a long night, and whom ever took the messages this morning a scalded ear if only they had thought to call back and leave a second message.

In the end Taz was fine, the litter was clean, and the apartment in good shape. I intend to stop in the office tomorrow after work and talk to my friend there and put a final note on this episode. In the future when I am going to be gone, if the person I know can't personally attend to this favor, then I will have to seek out a better solution. I feel a strong responsibility to my cats, even if the "girls" in the office don't.

Author's profile picture

Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.