Amblin’ Alameda: MDRA

Amblin’ Alameda: MDRA

Morton Chalfy

One of the most important aspects of life in our home is the concept of MDRA: Minimum Daily Requirement of Affection. The cats, never shy about asking for what they want, can become very insistent when they want to receive theirs, often trapping us in our chairs and inserting their heads into our hands. They give as good as they get, both to us and each other, and by being so bold and unabashed in asking for it they set a good example for the rest of us. The rest of us being my sweetie and myself, neither of whom is particularly shy in asking for love.

It’s a good habit we’ve grown here. Affection contains within itself acceptance, approval, membership in the club and physical pleasure. The cats purr when giving or receiving and we do our own version of purring depending on the form of affection being given. We find that gestures of affection solidifies the bonds between and among us and provides a counterbalance to the impersonality and difficulty of daily life. Affectionate touch restores in us our self-esteem and good self-image, our strength of will and zest for living.

The cats, by stripping away the psychological aspects of giving and receiving affection, make it all clear and simple: “I’m here. If you don’t pet me soon I’ll feel anxious and neglected and I’ll lie on your chest until you stroke me like you mean it.” Straightforward. Direct. Understandable on the most basic of levels.

Signs of affection are how we reinforce our relationships which in turn reinforce ourselves. Learning from the cats, we engage in spontaneous displays of affection whenever we feel moved to do so, and, not surprisingly, the more we do so the more we feel moved to.

Life takes a daily toll of energy, money and spirit. We can restore the energy with food and rest, the money with work and the spirit with affection. More important to human life than vitamins.