Finding a metaphor for living a life of action – Orange County Register

I’ve always thought of myself as being an adjective or sometimes an adverb. But last week that changed.

Sitting in my aisle seat at the A Noise Within Theatre in Pasadena, I heard something that would affect my entire future. The words were spoken by the high-spirited young woman who George Bernard Shaw wrote into the character of Hypatia Tarleton in his play “Misalliance.”

Lamenting the boredom of her privileged life, she declares with great vigor, “I want to be an active verb.”

I felt like I had just heard a manifesto for aging. Jump on your horse and keep riding, even if it turns into a slow trot. Especially when it turns into a slow trot.

“Larkie,” I sang out to my kitty as I returned home from my life-changing evening, “Mommy’s becoming a verb.”

As if to remind me that I had left out the word “active,” she leaped into the air and started running toward the kitchen, pausing once to look back and make sure I was following. My sweet little shelter cat, who I adopted five years ago, has never had a problem being an active verb since she moved on up, so to speak, from her tiny cage into my house.

My modest home has turned into her mini-mansion and she never runs out of new places to explore. She even finds new places in her new places. After a year of napping on pillows in the linen closet, she moved up two shelves to the afghans and quilts and had fun outsmarting me into a panic when I couldn’t find her. Then she finally wriggled one delicate tuxedo white paw from under the lavender and purple quilt my mother-in-law had made as a wedding present for my late husband and me. I was relieved but also admired her creativity as she moved to the floor of the closet and disappeared behind the Red Cross disaster preparedness kit.

Even now as I am writing this she actively leaped up on my desk, after “guilting” (see how I am already changing adjectives into verbs) me into giving her a late-night treat.

She has this aging thing down. Now that I am becoming a verb, she is turning into a metaphor.

Emailpatriciabunin@sbcglobal.net. Follow her on X @patriciabunin and patriciabunin.com.

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