Sometimes I fly to gigs, but more often than not I drive.
Saturday is generally my “Friday,” and most comedy clubs have two shows: early, and late. My last shift can finish anywhere from 11 pm to midnight.
Following that, I hop in my car and begin the journey home. Sure, I have a hotel waiting for me—one I happily used all day—but I find nighttime driving more peaceful. There are fewer cars and trucks clogging things up, and to be honest, I’d rather get home at 4 am than wake up at 7 am and have a long drive ahead of me.
Plus, my kiddos enjoy waking up with me in the house more than they do waking up and hearing, “Daddy’s almost home!”
But my kids aren’t the only creatures awaiting my return; I’ve got a couple of four-legged babies who miss me, too. There’s Simon, the somewhat-indifferent cat, and Kitty, the mini-schnauzer.
Kitty is getting up there in years, and nothing has shown that more than my last few trips.
From ages 1 – 6, when I’d get home from a gig in the middle of the night, Kitty would be waiting at the door leading from the garage to the house. His little nub would be wagging, his ears would be down, and he’d be crying: “I missed you so much! I’m so happy you’re back.” He’d have been asleep in the master bedroom, but the instant he heard the garage door start to open he’d tear across the house to greet me.
From ages 6 – 8, when I’d get home from a gig in the middle of the night, I’d enter the house and begin to piddle-fart around. I’d set my bag on the floor and maybe grab a drink of water. Kitty would hear the noise and sleepily exit the bedroom to see what was happening. Upon discovering me, his ears would lower, and he’d trot over to me, crying and wagging his little nub. “I missed you so much! I’m happy you’re back!”
Kitty is nine, now, and things are different.
When I get home from a gig in the middle of the night, I enter the house and piddle-fart around. I drink a glass of water; maybe eat a spoonful of peanut butter. I set my bag somewhere and take off my shoes. I enter the bedroom quietly, and Kitty is still asleep on the bed, blind, deaf, and old. Only after I climb into bed and disturb his slumber does he wake, begin wagging his nub, and cry as he tries to snuggle in next to me as tightly as possible; “I missed you so much! I’m happy you’re back!”
Kitty is still full of love, but Father Time has been hard on him.
Hopefully, he’s got a few years left in him.