Day 106: Let’s talk about cats!

Scene: the lower bunk, this morning, quite some time before sunrise, Santa Monica.

The sensation that someone is staring at it intently awakens the duck-rabbit. The duck-rabbit opens its eyes and sees the younger sitting up next to it, beaming at it. The elder is still sleeping soundly in the top bunk.

Younger: [In stage whisper] Mom? Mom, I have a good view out the window, so I’ll tell you when it’s morning!

D-R: [Not beaming] mmmmmmm

Younger: What shall we talk about while we wait for it to be morning?

D-R: mmmmmmm

Younger: I know! Let’s talk about cats!

D-R: mmmmhmmmmm

Younger: when you have a cat you have to clean out its litter box. You have to scoop the poop out.

D-R: mmmmhmmmmm

Younger: do you scoop the pee out too or just the poop?

D-R: [Yawning] uhhhhhh …. I dunno really … I guess just the poop? [Turns over.]

Younger: some cats like to drink water out of the toilet.

D-R: do they?

Younger: yes, Leah’s cat does that.

D-R: who is Leah?

Younger: [incredulous at this question] you know, Leah. My friend, Leah.

D-R [realizing she means SJ’s daughter, whom the younger has met once in her life, nearly two years ago. The younger has never met Leah’s cat] Oh, right. Yeah [in tone of surprise upon realizing that the younger’s assertion is in fact true; the D-R has met said cat and has observed described behavior], yeah, actually, her cat does do that, I’ve seen it.

Younger: [Peering through the blinds] It’s still not morning, Mom. What shall we talk about now?

D-R: [Sighing] how bout you tell me a story?

Younger: about what?

D-R: you decide.

Younger: no, you decide.

D-R. fine. A little girl goes on an adventure.

Younger: once upon a time there was a little girl who had never …. gone hiking before and so she decided to go hiking. So she packed up her hiking stick and her hiking boots and – what else should she bring, Mom?

D-R: snack

Younger: and her snack and her water bottle and she set off on her hike. And when she got to the hiking place she met a tiger. And he said, “what brings you here?” [D-R smiles silently in the darkness at this phrase] And then he said, “would you like a cup of tea?” And she said “yes please!”

D-R: [Interrupting] I would like hiking a lot more if there was a nice tiger who would make me a cup of tea while I was on my hike.

Younger: And then he said, “come down to my attic for a party!” and so she did and the tiger made her lemonade and cake. And then she left and she always saw him whenever she wanted. [Pause] What shall we do now?

D-R: mmmmmmmm

Younger: I know! Let’s pretend to be a family of moles! You be the Mama mole and I’ll be the baby mole. [She lifts the sheet over our heads to make a little tent.] OK, what shall we do?

D-R: go to sleep?

Younger: OK. [Briefest of pauses.] OK, now it’s morning. What’s for breakfast?

D-R: hmmm. What do moles eat? bugs?

Younger: [Makes lip-smacking sound] that was me slurping up some worms; moles eat worms.

D-R: yuck. Dude, there is no way I could eat a worm; could you?

Younger: do you know some people for real eat bugs that have been cooked?

D-R: yeah, maybe I could do that, but I couldn’t eat a live bug, it would be all squiggling while you chewed it.

Younger: do you know that in China some people eat live octopus?

[Pause while D-R wonders if this is offensive racist stereotype or interesting culinary fact.[1]

D-R: [Doubtfully] do they?

Younger: [Confidently] yup, they definitely do.

D-R: Well I don’t know if that’s true but I don’t think I would enjoy eating a live octopus. I am hungry for real. Do you want some breakfast?

Younger: [With pitch-perfect English accent and cadence] can I have some straw-berry yogurt, Mummy?

D-R: [Laughing] Oh, my God, you are the worst! You are so mean! You just mock my accent all the time!

Younger: [Slightly abashed] Sor-ry.

D-R: No, it’s all right, I like it, it’s funny, say it again!

She does and the duck-rabbit gets up to make breakfast, laughing.

***

Later this morning when I’m riding my bike back from therapy, I find myself singing the following over and over to the tune of Salt-N-Pepa’s “Let’s Talk About Sex”:

Let’s talk about cats ba-by

Let’s talk about you and me

Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be

Let’s talk aboouuuut cats. Let’s talk about cats.

Let’s talk aboouuuut cats. Let’s talk about cats!

 

Notes

[1] I do vaguely remember one of those classic Jonathan Gold articles in which he talks about eating a live octopus. But I think it was a Korean restaurant.

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