Artie and I developed our own language. We had several looks that mean “Look there!” and then “I know right?” and then “That was stupid” or “Unbelievable.” “Unbelievable” mind you would have different tones of looks in and of itself. Then we’d have our own silly baby talk, which funnily stems from how we talk to animals and/or other people’s pets.
Whenever talking to cats, he puts on a voice that makes him sound like an old cat lady. This old cat lady would have little southern ping to her consonants and a guarded swing to her vowels.
He also had his own vocabulary.
He had terms of endearment for animals by way of describing them. Adam couldn’t have done a better job in the Garden of Eden:
"She’s a squirmy! She gives me squirmies!"
"Aaaaah! Look at that silly cat! She’s a silly cat!"
"Fudz!" and "Ssup!" all mean food. Or lunch or dinner.
"Teep Tayneez Fudz" would be our go to for when we are hungry. Another variation would be "Teep Tayneez Ssup!"
"What ah the wudz" means "So what she text you back with?"
Most morning’s he’d say he had “Eggies for breakfast.”
He had a handful of endearments for me, and for some reason, these would be paired what seems to be a silly English accent:
"Where the little person?"
"Silly person" for times like when I forget things or misplace things and eventually find them. ALSO, when I say something that one-ups him.
"Crazy baby" is for times like when I dance with a kid out on Union Square Park on Sunday.
"Crazy person" is for when he has nothing else to say after I myself say "I love you."
"Kees!" Is very self explanatory.
I haven’t spoken this language for a while except when I’m alone and playing with a stray cat. His words and nuance would come out, starting with a gentle hiss to call the neighborhod cats to come out. This works 70% of the time. When I see one, I whisper out to it “Hey!” And she’d look at me in mid-stealth crawl. At that point, she’d either crawl into a car or stop and sit to look at me. If she stops and sits, she will most likely squirm around my ankles and anoint me as her familiar.
One time, I saw a cat chilling on a stoop a few blocks away from where I live and she saw me as if she had waiting for a human with a cat touch. She squirmed and purred and kissed my nose. She even let me carry her.
But using our secret “Wuudz” to a cat isn’t enough. Indeed, the kind of connection Artie and I had was unique. Even when I was telling hurricane Arthur to away, it obeyed.
Last weekend though, I met a kid. His name is Billy. Billy the Kid is my cousin Mellie’s nannying ward. When I met Billy, he himself opened the door for us at Mellie’s encouragements. An only child, his toys were sprawled all over the living room, and it’s apparent that he’s been at it for a few hours. As soon as I sat on the couch, he started showing his little knick knacks to me. I just smiled and let him do his thing - it’s his house.
Soon, the show and tell was getting a little overwhelming and I walked towards the back of the house where I saw that they have a cat named Puddy. Puddy Tat for short, I’m sure.
Puddy let himself approach me. Mellie yelled from the living room that the little fuzzy butt is actually 13 years old. He leaned against my legs and pushed his head against the palm of my hand. I went berzerk. One year of being disabled from using Artie’s silly wudz finally came out. I was calling him ferocious and fuzzy butt and he didn’t seem to mind.
Ten minutes of Puddy Cuddles, the old timer wanted to go back to his spot. Who was I to deny him of that. I went back to Billy. He was showing me an action figure and then he showed me a book.
Then all of a sudden, all of the things I did playing with my sister when she was little came back. I let him fly as Superman as I lay with my back on the floor and he was floating on my knees and feet. I bounced him on my knees and he would laugh and say he wanted to be Superman again.
Then It happened again. I tickled Billy and started calling him a Silly Little Person. Then I’d calm down and ask meekly for a Kees. Then he’d run away from me and I’d grab an inflatable toy sword and poke him and go, with an all out Artie play voice:
For about an hour, I spoke his language. As much as I’d love to create another language, another syntax for love, with someone, I know I’ll be speaking the same silly way Artie spoke with. At least our language is by no means dead.