~ Monday, May 29, 2006 ~
It's the end of the semester, so of course that means I have monster papers to write. (Why else would I be blogging?) The Advocate has been gone this weekend, and I'm looking after her two kitty-cats, Bette and Lu. It's also just been changing over from Spastic Spring to Sticky Summer these past few days; this weekend has been the first taste of hot disgusting humidity we've had all year, and B. and L. don't seem to like it much. They handle it very differently, though. Bette, the older and more delicate of the girls, just sort of flopped herself down on the hardwood floor near the doorway, and has spent most of her time there. Lu, the younger and more intrepid, seems like she doesn't quite know what to do with herself, so she alternates between taking possession of whatever spot she doesn't already own (currently it's the last empty spot on the kitchen table) and demanding either food or recognition. Usually food. This girl is always hungry, and has a reputation for finishing her meals in a hurry so she can get some of Bette's, too. Bette is usually too conflict-averse to refuse, and when Lu comes to polish off her bowl, Bette goes off into a corner where she either pretends she was full anyway or quietly sulks.
I usually work in my room, but it's too warm in there now, so I've been sitting in the somewhat more ventilated kitchen, typing away, and every time I get up, Lu saves my seat for me by springing down and curling up on it herself. Then she gets annoyed when I want it back, but I'm not as good at resting on the table as she is, so we work something out and she pads huffily back to her spot on the table. Throughout all this, poor Bette is just lying in her floppy position on the floor, looking sort of sweetly dejected.
Actually, The Advocate and I have been a bit worried about Bette, because usually when she wants quiet time, she hides in a box on top of the cabinets over the refrigerator. It's pretty common to walk in, be loudly greeted by Lu who is in your face demanding supper before you have even been able to put your bag down, and look around for Bette, finally spotting the tips of her ears just peeking over the edge of her upstairs box. She loves that place. Or she did, anyway. It seems unlike her to lie all defeated-looking down here on the floor.
I finally took pity on her this morning and brought out a box from my room, which I placed in her new spot. It was a nice box, a good size for one curled-up lady cat, and I folded the flaps inside so they wouldn't swing up and down and intimidate her. She can be skittish that way. I presented it to her, and she did a lot of rubbing her cheek against it, but she wasn't sure if it was safe inside. I didn't want to force her into it, but I finally tilted it toward her and patted the inside, and curiosity got the better of her. She stepped in.
For a moment or two she sat erect in it, looking out on the rest of the apartment like a dignified ship captain navigating the treacherous Northern Wooden Flooring Sea, and then she curled up neatly and made herself at home.
By now, Lu had moved down from the table to repossess my chair, but she relinquished it to come see what the fuss was about. Bette raised her head. Lu gave her elder sister a thoughtful bit of face-grooming, which Bette tolerated for a while. Soon, though, Bette had had enough of all that interaction and hinted that it was time for Lu to be getting along. Lu, who doesn't take hints, or really anything that doesn't smell like food, ignored it. Bette finally gave Lu an unmistakable good-bye swat, and Lu, thinking it must be playtime, swatted back. Hard. Bette recoiled. Screw this, she sighed, and climbed out of the box, retreating to another morsel of floor, where she flopped down and looked defeated. Lu then climbed into the box and stuffed herself across its diagonal. She looked absurd, like Alice in the White Rabbit's house she's just outgrown.
"Lu," I said, "that was Bette's box."
Lu stared up at me defiantly. "What? She left. It's mine now."
"Okay, Lu," I said, and went back into my room to get another box. It wasn't as roomy as the first one, but at least Bette wouldn't be flinging herself onto the floor in woe.
When I returned carrying the replacement, Bette was already back in the first box. Lu had, apparently, voluntarily vacated it. Miraculous, I thought, but only until I found out why: she'd noticed that The Chair was empty. She was just sauntering toward it when she saw me coming, and suddenly it was a race to see who could claim the chair first. She won, of course, and when she'd settled herself comfortably on it, she lifted her head and gazed at back at me, daring me to displace her. "Okay, Lu," I sighed. "You win."
It's not a bad box, really. A bit cramped, but at least it's mine.
~ prattled by Miriam at 8:38 a.m. [+]
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