Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Observations on a Strange Day

The cat is licking the chair. I can hear her sandpaper tongue scraping the mesh fabric. Suddenly, she's standing on my head.

I think she learned two new words in the English language over the past few days. One is "no", the other is "down". And yet, she's on my head again. I think it's purposeful disobedience rather than ignorance. I have too much faith in this animal's intellect to rationalize away her behavior as "not knowing better". She knows, and disregards. I suppose this is cat-like.

I walk outside, trying to find out if the feeling of direct sunlight on my head would make my brain feel any better (it doesn't). While I am there, I see a middle-aged woman standing in one place, staring intently at a tree while holding her hand on the side of her head. At first I think that she might be having a stroke... an aneurysm... some kind of brain event. I grow concerned. She is motionless for maybe a full minute. I consider walking toward her to inquire if she needs assistance. When she lowers her hand and I see that she is merely holding a phone to her ear, I find myself simultaneously relieved and disappointed.

An old man rides by on a bicycle. He seems in very good shape for a man who looks to be sixty or more. Still, I stop breathing for a moment until the breeze generated by his speedy passing has settled. I don't want to breathe any essence of sweaty old man.

I come back in and sit down. The cat jumps on my head. I have no choice other than to put the cat in the hall and close my door.

Just a few minutes later, though, I wonder what the cat is doing. Is she still in the hall, waiting for me to open the door, perchance to jump on my head again? If I open the door to find out, she'll just jump on my head. At the moment, however, she has much in common with Erwin Schrödinger's famous feline. She exists in a state of uncertainty, bringing to mind Heisenberg's principles as well. I can say, "I'm sure she's fine," but that's really a load of crap, isn't it? I have no idea. I can't see or hear the cat. What I actually mean is that I assume that odds are high that she is fine, and past experience tells me that cats are quite self-sufficient, and that my house isn't fraught with peril -- not much peril, anyway -- and that the cat is probably still in the hall, or in my bedroom, or my son's, or downstairs in the living room.

I can't take the suspense, and open the door. The cat runs in and jumps on my head. I put her down, gently. It's the cat's nature to want to look down upon the world, and my head is the highest point in the room. The fact that my body is attached to it means nothing to the cat. Once on the floor, the cat goes seemingly insane, jumping from my head to the desk to the chair to the floor to the printer/fax/scanner and then back to my head, all in under three seconds. She's talking, making a continuous series of blerrrrt sounds while running at full speed around this small room. I reach for her again; this time, she bites me. Since I am allergic to cats, it eventually leaves a bright red welt on my wrist that itches. Then she curls into a ball and begins licking her foot, purring.

I don't know why. I'm not a cat, and even if I were, I might not understand what she was doing. You're a person, presumably; do you always understand what other people are doing?

I didn't think so.

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