Friday, May 27, 2005

Tea and Shadows

number thirty

Sunshine brings a stranger home. And she gets stranger and stranger. 752 words.

[NL]—Long before I managed to get down to México, Sunshine had been talking about getting a cat; and that cat arrived today. Up until late this weekend, this cat has been a slowly focusing reality, winding its way though concept—“maybe we should get a cat”—to concrete theory—“there are plenty available, and they are not that expensive to feed”—to conceptual realism—“when Joel leaves somebody has to take his cat.” I have tentatively provided the counterpoint in what I fooled myself into thinking was a hypothetical discussion. I offered the data about the destructive power of cats, the difficulties that may be involved with obtaining a Mexican vet, the sheer temporariness of our stay in any one country. None of this seemed to slow the time between my arrival in San Pedro and Joel’s departure, however.

Apparently, that time actually sped up. It shortened. I had been being very tentative because I was told that I had until mid-June before the previous owners packed out, and the kitty decision needed deciding. That took a distinctly more immediate twist this weekend when we were called and told that we needed to pick the cat up by Wednesday.

Most of this week, Sunshine has been concentrating on the newest extra-curricular services she is providing. This time, she has volunteered to deliver a talk on the history of the international tea trade at a tea function. This was to be held, we initially were given to understand, on Saturday afternoon; but in the same immediate spirit that infected the cat timetable, we discovered Tuesday that it was to take place on Thursday. We had already wasted her rare free hours at the beginning of the week by going to see Sahara, and Sunshine was now faced with the prospect of writing a twenty-minute presentation on a brand new subject in two evenings after work. And on one of those evenings, she was going to have to pick up a cat.

The cat was described to me like this: a black, three- to four-year-old, castrated male, shy around a lot of dogs and children, born and raised in Mexico. Answers to the name Shadow. The cat had become a more concrete reality than I had initially hoped, but I was prepared to try making the best of it. I love cats! This one would not come with a litter box or food. We were going to have to spend some of Sunshine’s precious writing time getting these things, too.

By Wednesday morning, Sunshine had already worked until after bedtime once on the paper, and there were two neon-colored clear plastic cat bathrooms, litter, wet and dry food in the pantry. Here is where I began to reflect that the cat had been philosophically approaching tangibility for a while. Right now I was ruminating on the brink of Schrödinger’s cat-box, the object accelerating toward manifestation along a countdown that started with an innocent little aside about having a pet. Soon the future would flip its lid, inside there would be a real cat, instead of the philosophical cats we’ve had for the months previous.

What I was not prepared for was the cat itself. There was at least one more incarnation for this beast, as I discovered on Wednesday when Sunshine walked through the door with a borrowed plastic pet carrier, and emptied its contents onto the floor. Out dumped a seven-year-old, declawed, black and white female, bug-eyed and freaked out, who immediately made her way behind the washing machine and wouldn’t come out. Vet records showed receipts from Illinois in the name of “Kitty,” Sunshine said she was told the cat “sheds when it is nervous.” I’ll admit that I was pissed, sitting in the floor with white and black hairs wafting in the air conditioning around me. But inside I was a little bemused, too. Sunshine went off to write until well after midnight, and I did the cat-sitting, trying to coax this newest cat out from behind the major appliances. We seemed to have run through at least three distinct cats so far in this venture: a fantasy cat, a false advertisement cat, and then this actual cat who was haunting the laundry room. In another few days or weeks, this cat might warm up to us, come out of its shell a little. By that time, I think it is clear that it will have become yet another whole, new cat.

But we will still be calling it Shadow. Maybe.

A cat stops hiding for five minutes as favor to Author

Quiet Reading Room

This is a quiet reading room. Often, I find it is uncomfortable to digest long tubes of columned text directly off a computer screen. This journal is dedicated to the collection, percolation, and ultimate integration of my personal experiences. Subjects that I want to examine and then talk about--sometimes talk a lot about--€”are presented here. This central content can tend to thousands of words, maybe millions. I was afraid that readers were leaving the presentation boggled, spinning, googly-eyed. Or perhaps when confronted with twenty-four inches, or yards, of monitor sprawl they were just giving up. I am not even certain that I have necessarily solved this inevitable content problem of modern information enjoyment, but here is what I have done.

After long and highly scientific routines manipulating double-blind control- and test-subjects, peer reviewed journal publications, and hours and hours of hands-on experimentation, I have crafted this quiet reading room. There is no scientific way to control the length of the articles I write, but careful handling can somewhat soothe the contextual presentation. In other words: I have dropped the traditional speculation about lexicon, and attacked the question of the matrix itself instead. Brilliant. After years of diligence what I eventually crafted is this reading room.

The walls are contoured to relax instead of constrain; the paper is made to soften instead of reflect. The light is dimmed--just so--€”to prevent strain, angled to prevent umbra, and color-coded to soften harsh red lights and deepen wimpy light reds. There is nothing I can do to control aural environment, but my recommendation is that it should be kept quiet. About ambient sound: these entries are probably best read as far as possible from emergency vehicles, preferably from beneath the muffler of a vintage fire fighter pilot's scarf, puffy old duvet, or snow that is still falling.

My theory is that the wide web world is filled with potent and material opportunities that are just too difficult to digest for many people to take part. Enjoyment of this stuff is regulated to the routines of crawlers and robots at the peril of humankind's peaceful future survival. In an attempt to delay this likely outcome: welcome to this quiet reading room. It is for people like you to relax, kick back, and hate my content for better reasons than the dizzying vertiginous specter of its lousy dpi presentation.

Return to Previously

About Mr. Cavin