Monday, January 14, 2008

a typical monday night

It's after 11. I'm sitting next to Colin on the sofa. I'm leaning against a four-inch stack of his work papers. Countless black and white drawings of jackets and snowboardings pants. The latest up-and-coming Burton styles red-lined with corrections and alterations. "Move the pocket two inches this way. Add a seam there. Change this zipper. Make that fit tighter." This hefty stack of styles is digging into my back.

I've just finished a book that literally knocked some breath of out me—I'm still reeling. And digesting. Staring off into nothing as it were. It's pretty quiet. And then...

The cats are scratching at the litter again. "Not it," Colin says as his eyes remain glued to the screen of his laptop. The computer keys click-clicking away. My mind immediately sweeps back to the here and now. This is the third time tonight—and we've been dutifully scooping the stink bombs away as they come.

I got home from work at 7. Au Lait scratched the walls, telling me in her own way to clean out the box (she positively won't do her chores until I do). She might as well have been scratching a black board; the sound made my neck crawl. I walked to the litter and Au Lait ran over to supervise and make sure I was doing it right. The second I finished, she stepped into the litter and soiled my work.

"I made you dinner," I countered (to Colin). "And I scooped the mother load."

Col finally looked up at me defeated. He got up and walked over to the box, scooped, and returned to the couch and his work. Then more scratching.

Suki this time—she won't go till Au Lait has gone. This is the not-so-complicated pecking order of the litter box, you see. We have it all figured out. We figured it out by watching their instinctual cat patterns surreptitiously, just as careful parents discreetly watch (and react to) the fragile interactions of their young. We juggle litter box duty. Feed the felines before destruction. Act quickly to avoid any kind of disturbance. We have it all figured out, we do. Yet we're slaves to their every whim.

"This circus ritual is far from banal," I think to myself. "Yet, perhaps slightly predictable. And tedious."

It's my turn now, I suppose, to go scoop the poop.

3 comments:

Hanushka said...

Sounds like we're on the same page...
what book?

JennB said...

Need the book, please.
I have the 9-month get-out-of-jail-free card, although I'll cop to doing it when I can't stand the smell any more.

Penelope Wall said...

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Read it with a strong heart.

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