Saturday, August 14, 2004

Ramblings of an ineffectual nature

I don't know what I want to say today. I haven't slept that much in quite a while. It always happens when I read Pirsig, or when I think too much, or when I'm babysitting my parents dog.

You see Sophie, who is an older Pekingnese, has never been around cats. I have a cat, Wendy (affectionately called DoDo) who has never been around dogs. DoDo is eight, Sophie is thirteen. Sophie has very little hearing, one eye, she can't really see much with her good eye though, and she enjoys sleeping, eating, and whining. She has an assortment of whines, grunts, barks and yips that mean various things. I don't really know the language that well, but at least I know the alphabet at this point.

The cat and dog have an interesting relationship. The cat wishes that the dog didn't exist. The dog isn't sure whether she should be friends with the cat or constantly alert me to the fact that the cat is present, and is possibly a threat to my well being.

Last night the cat finally made her stand. Usually she slinks about, staying to the shadows and in the corners, or underneath the bed. Last night she decided to take her usual place on the bed, just next to the pillow on the right side of the bed. Sophie had no idea that DoDo was anywhere near, that is until DoDo decided to perform her usual nocturnal cleansing ritual. Even a dog with sight problems couldn't miss this performance. There's the cat, one rear leg pointed skywards, smacking and licking various parts of her anatomy, ostensibly to remove dirt from her fur, but I know that she's just showing off her flexibility. It's her way of saying to me "Look at me, my spine flexes both ways! And you think opposable thumbs make you better." Yes, my cat is smug.

I digress. So there's this tabby cat, lounging, stretching, cleaning herself on my bed. Sophie notices her and decides that the presence of this creature poses an immediate threat to my person. The growling, whining and yipping commence. Normally the cat would run, flee, hide. But not this time. She doesn't even blink. She continues her ritual, which apparently is too important to interrupt for the likes of a half-blind, mostly deaf senior citizen dog which couldn't jump onto the bed without the assistance of either a set of stairs or a human.

My cat has never held her ground for more than a millionth of a second before. Perhaps she's getting used to the dog. Perhaps she's just tired of the dog. Perhaps she's planning my assasination. Usually without provocation this cat will run and hide. She hides when someone knocks on my neighbors door. She hides when the barometric pressure drops. If I clap my hands she'll jump straight up about a foot. She is, in short, a coward. And yet the moment that she decides to make her stand is when there is a dog present. A semi-blind aged dog, but a dog nevertheless.

The entire night went like that. The cat standing her ground and the dog barking, yipping and growling. Yes it was peaceful, no I didn't get much sleep. Thankfully the dog will be going back to Mom's tonight.

I think the whole rigamarole about dogs and cats is very similar to our own problem with non-english speaking immigrants. It's all about communication. The only difference being that dogs and cats cannot really learn the other's language and use it to communicate their intentions. They can, however, if they are exposed early enough to it, learn the other one's language enough to know what certain postures and gestures mean. Perhaps this is something that humans can learn. I know that acceptance of differences can be taught at an early age, but it needs to be reinforced continually throughout the development of the child.

Maybe I'm just a dreamer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What kind of drugs do you take man?