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BLOG – My Favorite Villager

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If I’m not running around downtown, you may find me at Dunphy’s hanging out with my favorite villager, Coconut.

I first met Coconut on New Year’s Eve, 2007. I’d been gone from Yellow Springs for over a year, was just visiting for the holidays. I would return home to Providence, Rhode Island from this visit having decided to move back.

I can’t remember if by New Year’s I knew I was coming back. But that’s not the point. I met Coconut because my friend and comedy partner Jill Summerville and I were sitting on the steps of Dunphy’s for the ball drop. We were sitting on the steps because we needed a stable, seated place away from the crowd. We needed stable, seated place because Jill has cerebral palsy and isn’t terribly mobile. We didn’t want her to get trampled by the crowd and we didn’t want people to trip over her wheelchair. So we got downtown really early and staked out our seats, holding court all night.

Coconut kept us company the whole time. She was very excited by all the activity and all the attention we were giving her, and frequently tried to paw her way through the glass windows. I reciprocated.

As you may know, Coconut lives in Dunphy’s and mostly when the place is empty, and especially when the miniature-town holiday display is up, she likes to hang out by the front windows. She expresses a lot of interest in passersby and even more in falling snow. If you get her on a good day, she might roll on her back for you and look at you upside-down with those big gorgeous eyes.

Since moving back to Yellow Springs, one of my favorite things to do is visit Coconut—usually just to say hey through the window, but sometimes when the weather is nice and the back door is open she’s there, prowling the 2-foot circumference of the doorway (she’s a bit skittish).

And if you don’t know already, and if you haven’t gathered as much by this post so far, I’m a cat person. Actually to say that I’m a cat person is a bit of an understatement. I don’t actually have a cat; I’ve always been fated to be a cat lady so what’s the rush? In the meantime I try to pet and bond with every cat that comes across my path. They distract me from everything: conversations, errands, other cats. I would yell “kitty!” and rush to them. But the cats around here can be antisocial so I’ve had to modify my approach. Now I whisper “kitty” and crouch-slink to them.

One of the things I love about cats—especially the cats around here—is their aloofness. The more aloof the cat the more I love them. I kind of thrive on perpetually-unfulfilled longing. So if one would care to get all psychoanalytic about it, Coconut’s appeal for me may partly be because much of our relationship is characterized by being separated by a glass window. We constantly try to get at each other through this window, and are only sometimes rewarded by actual physical contact, involving lots of petting, shedding, and the occasional dash to safety at outside disruption (I’m not telling you who does that one).

I want to take this opportunity to apologize to my colleagues at the News—if I am late to work, it’s all Coconut’s fault. You try saying no to that charm.


5 Responses to “BLOG – My Favorite Villager”

  1. Yvonne Wingard says:

    Yes, Mr. Eko is named for the character on Lost. Our old cat Bart was named for Bart Simpson so you can tell that our owner is a TV junkie, too. I remember Zeus as a kitten; he’d be about 12 by now…anyone know if it’s him?

  2. Vanessa Query says:

    Thank you!

    I’d be happy to be your muse. What’s your schedule like?

  3. Vanessa Query says:

    That “other black cat”–the one that lives in Bonadies and hangs out by the gas station, right? I’ve been wondering: Is that Zeus, who used to sit on my lap when I hung out at Dino’s when I was a student in the early 00’s? That cat is awesome, as is Mr. Eko.

  4. Lauren Shows says:

    “I kind of thrive on perpetually-unfulfilled longing”

    yeah, you and every jane austen novel ever. i see a regency-era style epic about you and coconut in the works. this could be my big break!

    also, you are hilarious.

    also also, in reference to the mr. eko mentioned above: is that name a “lost” throwback?

  5. Yvonne Wingard says:

    Working at Dark Star, I hear lots about the village cats from visitors, many who mistake the “other black cat” for our Mr. Eko, who stays indoors. I think our cats are one of our best features, if I do say so myself. But then, Vanessa, I’m a cat person, too. (And I say HI to Coconut, too)

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