Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's Just A Little Pressure in My Ears

The cats are worried.

You can just see it in their eyes.  Okay, one eye.  The one eye they might open when I walk by or clear my throat or sigh deeply.

You see, I'm too quiet.  They're used to loud, frantic me.  Quiet, contemplative me makes them so nervous they can barely manage their busy days of napping, eating, and visiting the litterbox.  I don't know what it is that bothers them so.  Are they so dependent on routine that they're afraid I'm going to take to my bed and stop feeding them? Is my depression casting such a pall over the household that it makes it hard for them to concentrate on licking their butts?

In a desperate attempt to get a rise out of me, they sent the baby in to do her thing.  She started small by cuddling up to me as I sat staring at the laptop screen.  I petted her distractedly.  She walked across my keyboard, I just lifted her up and put her out of the room and shut the door.  She was persistent.  The next time I opened the door, she scampered in and hid under the bed.  Once I settled back in front of my computer, she sneaked out, leaped to the back of my chair, from there launched herself up to the top of the television and meeped until I stopped what I was doing and looked up at her.

"Yes?"  Until my dying day I will probably speak to animals as if they will respond.

She meeped again.  She doesn't know how to meow.

"Come down from there before you break your neck."  I turned back to my computer where I've been rescuing PoliTits blog posts from my rss feed.  I heard the screeching sound of claws on plastic and looked up in time to see the small cat lose her footing, tumbling through the air, taking down a framed picture, righting herself in time to land on the stack dvds perched on the top of the dvd player, sending the dvds crashing to the floor and making the last leap to the foot of our bed where she sat triumphantly licking her shoulder as if absolutely nothing had happened.

I looked from her to the path of destruction in her wake.  The picture frame's glass was broken, the dvds boxes made a colorful collage at my feet.   I leaned over to see how much glass there was to clean up and decided that I'd handle it later.

"That was graceful," I said to the cat who had curled into a ball, but continued to watch me with one eye.

I went back to work, alternately saving old posts and working on my NaNoWriMo project.  It's up to 8,100 words already.  I've realized that no matter how much I might try to plan out a novel, once I start writing, the story goes its own way.  Does it surprise anyone that I lack discipline?  I'm on Chapter Four and there are already two characters that I didn't know existed.

The cat snored softly behind me while I typed with Eric Satie playing in the background. I'd watched enough of the the post-election coverage to be sufficiently annoyed and depressed.  Reflecting my mood, the sky was a study in gray and the house seemed chilly.  Reading old blog posts felt a bit dispiriting.  I started blogging because of the political climate in 2006.  As I scrolled through the posts, it became apparent that in four years, not a lot had changed for most of us.

I clicked on the Word document that holds my new manuscript and wrote for a while before finally taking a break.  I stood and stretched.  The cat slept on.

When I went to the kitchen for more coffee, our oldest cat, Daisy, a twelve year old tortoiseshell who spends most of her day soaking up the warmth radiating from the bottom of the refrigerator, meowed before creakily pulling herself up and moving away.  Normally, I have to move her while apologizing if I want to open the fridge. Even when I apologize, she bites me.

"Thanks, Daisy."  I don't like to move her.  It seems wrong to disturb her, like harassing someone's grandma, that's how old she is.  I bent down and scratched her under chin. When I finished, she bumped my hand  with her nose then walked out of the kitchen.

I poured my coffee and headed back to the bedroom where I now do most of my writing.  When I got upstairs, I heard voices.

"So what did she do?"
"What?  She didn't scream?  She didn't stomp or threaten to spank your catbutt?"
"No.  Nothing. She didn't even get out of her chair."
"This is bad, you guys.  Really bad."
"Yeah, she's not herself."
"What are we going to do?"
"I don't know, but if she doesn't snap out of it soon, we're going to have to do something drastic."
"Hairball on the carpet?"
"Stealth poop?"
"Hide under her bed and jump on her chest at 3am?"
"Bad aim in the litterbox?"
"Oh, I know! Tip over the trashcan!"
"Listen, those are all good, but none of them will cut it.  Not this time."
"Then what?"
"I have an idea."

Things got quiet for a moment until I heard the sound of my laptop keyboard.

Just then, the floor under me creaked.  From where I stood in the hallway, I could see four cat heads turn and look in my direction.  The fifth, the one I assumed was the ringleader wasn't standing in the clump with the others.  He blinked at me from his perch on the keyboard.  The screen behind him was blank.

I stalked over to the desk.  "Did you delete my story?"

He yawned.

"You realize I have autosave, right?"

His sea foam green eyes slid over to the others.

"And I email that document to myself like the compulsive I am."

He stood and stretched, arching his back before he jumped to the floor and strolled away, his entourage following.

I sat down, clicked the mouse and and scrolled up.  The document was still there and intact.  As far as I could tell, the last words I'd typed remained unchanged.  Not ready to get back to work, I clicked on my browser.  My Facebook page was open and at the top it read:  Lisa Golden likes the Tea Party and Sarah Palin 2012.

"Tiger!  What the hell?"  I bellowed.

Right before I heard them scatter, I swear I heard one of them announce "She's back!"

Earthquake, tidal wave, tsunami, tempest in a teacup......

Do you talk to animals?  Are you feeling energized or out of breath?  Want a cat?


  1. You should write a novel about your cats :-). I loved this.

  2. I agree with Susan, Lisa.

    I'm compulsive, as well. I email my writing to both of my email addresses daily.

  3. Through childhood onward I've had about 6 cats. I like cats, cats like me. But about 4 years the switch was to a dog. Now, I wish those childhood pets had been dogs. Our dog is lovable, loyal & playful. Additionally, I pity the fool who tries to rob our house, 45 pounds of growling protection will be waiting.

  4. Hurray, a cat post!

    And of course I talk to my cats as if they completely understand and can respond.

  5. Awww, this is freaking adorable. Ben sings to our kitties. I mock (a little bit) but it's so, so cute.

  6. Well, to be honest, when I see depressed people, it's so stinkin' hard to concentrate on licking my butt! But I would never do anything so ruthless as to assign your love to anything Sarah Palin. Time for a cats whippin'!

  7. Susan is dead on accurate. You really should write a novel about your cats!

    Im glad your writing project is taking on a life of it's own, " I'm on Chapter Four and there are already two characters that I didn't know existed." Don't you just LOVE when THAT happens?

  8. HILARIOUS and so feline. Um, yes. I talk to my cats all the time. One is sprawled across me like a kitty seatbelt right now. Quincy is my black cat, and she has a decidedly evil streak in her (which I find cute). Our other roly-poly guy, Roy, likes to sleep as close to my mouth as possible.

    Quincy meows loudly all the time. I tell her, "What? Use your words."

  9. That made me smile. . . . and I needed a smile.

  10. I loved this. Your cats are evil in the most creative of ways!

    I talk to my dogs all the time. I've even been known to send them to time out when they sass me.

  11. My cats talk to me all the time but they aren't being nice, they are bossing me. It's always "let me outside", "get me more food", "give me some milk", "meow meow meow"...

  12. Down.
    I made a hat.
    There's no cat in it.

  13. I'll never admit it but that's why i lurve the kitties
    they are so in-effing-genius

  14. Brilliant! And yes, I talk to my cats, one of which is totally geriatric (I thinks she's about 17).

  15. Oh, yes, I talk with animals ... more, lately, than with humans ;-D

    If you're in a funk, cats are good to have around, eh? There have been days when my kittones were the sole reason I arose from my bed, primarily because they were standing on my sternum, batting at my nose and playing "Go Fish" with my tongue whenever I opened my mouth. One of my cats liked to try sticking her paw into my nostril. "Morning, Mommy!"

    Of course, if you ignore or (gasp!) resist your cats' summons to open the damn can of tuna already!, you will be sorely vexed at bedtime: someone will have crapped on your pillow. "'Night, Mommy!"

    Cats hate change even more than humans do -- especially emotional and relational changes. If someone is feeling anxious or if people are fighting, cats will freak out. On the other hand, if a cat falls through the air through missed footing and has to endure the *appalling* affrontery of being seen to fall and obliterate a stack of DVDs, *of course* said cat will simply *licklicklick* and make *you* feel like the idiot for starting to react to a disaster that according to the cat, never happened. And if you laugh at the cat, your pillow is *toast*. Then again, said cat might also crap in your favourite shoes. Oh, cats. How we adore them anyway ;-D

  16. This was a great post. I, too, talk to my cats and they respond... sort of. With flicks of their tail, ear movements, that sort of thing. I really do think they understand most of what I'm saying. Really. I swear.

  17. This was fun! Thanks for sharing the adventures of you and the 5 mouseketeers.

  18. As I scrolled through the posts, it became apparent that in four years, not a lot had changed for most of us.

    Are you saying these extra greys we're sporting are illusory? Between that, and talking cats, *you* are Doug Henning!

  19. BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I love your plotting cats.

    Yeah... depressing election... but YAY for NaNoWriMo progress! Rock on! (can I say that, or does that date me as someone who graduated high school in the 80s?)

  20. I do talk to my dog, but in a very high-pitched lovey-dove voice. Even I am nauseated.

    You make depression funny. And good luck in NaNo.

    The Middle Ages

  21. I know old cats. Mine was 17 when he passed...he was slow as molasses, but he was my one and only tried and true kitty love. I miss him all the time.

    :) That was a great post.

  22. OMG, I'm in tears! Let's collaborate on a pet book. I have four cats and a golden retriever-mix to add to the stories of manipulation and mayhem. Thanks for the best laugh of my day.

  23. //Earthquake, tidal wave, tsunami, tempest in a teacup.//
    I tried Sushi in a teacup once.....doesn't work. Next time I will stick with Sushi and hot cocoa....

  24. Those naughty kittehs! What will they think of next?

  25. LOL! :) Oh my gosh, Lisa, you are so so funny...and you're truly a talent. I could picture this situation so perfectly. And by the way, I love the word "meeped"--I have a cat that makes that exact noise! *grin*

  26. Cats are like this. While intriguing, um, I'd get a dog. Dogs want to make you happy. Just saying.

  27. Cats are like this. My suggestion? Get a dog. Just saying.

  28. You know why this story is good (like all your others)? You are the queen of set up!

    "Please more stories with the dialogue of animals."- sayeth my kitty.

  29. I loved this too. My border collie would love to get together with your cats and wreak a little havoc.

    Hate the Tea Party and Sarah Palin, but hate even more that it all exists. Crazy times.

  30. I LOVE your post...since having to move back home due to unemployment I have no pets but years ago I had a Siamese cat, Siam, (very original, right?)who would run down the hall, jump halfway up the bathroom door frame molding and then slide back down to the floor like a fireman on a firepole! :)

  31. Oui, je parle avec mon chat! Toujours. But he only speaks French so our conversations are limited. I attempt to talk to him... he bites me. I think it's a love bite. But I don't know how to ask him. Maybe you can help me with that!

    Love this post Lisa.


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