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November 10, 2004

Boy, there's nothing like trying to read a book ...

When there are five animals in the house. So far, I've had a good half-hour all night, with the book in my hands, where I didn't want to lock at least one of the animals around here in a small, dark room.

Okay, actually, my exact words were "I could gas at least three of these animals!" but I didn't want that on the 'teaser' page for the entry. Once you've clicked the 'read more' link, I know you'll hang on through the rest of it and realize what got me there.

I'm taking a night class, right now -- modern social problems, which already was really 'interesting' (as in that faux 'Chinese proverb' I always hear about 'interesting times,' that's actually something Robert Kennedy made up for a speech back in the sixties, according to the best research I could dredge up on these Internets), but should become even more interesting now that we have the 'Blame The Victim Society' backstage getting all pancaked up for its second act.

You see, the whole circus started when I picked up my textbook, just after eight o'clock last night. I'd barely cracked the book when the dog spent five solid minutes attempting to bury his cold, wet nose under the hand that was holding the book. At the same time, Gord came in over the back side, the 'feed table' for the torties, to grunt and squirm around on the narrow strip of one leg that the book didn't cover. He wiggled around for a few, then got up and went to flop on the sofa, at which point the dog returned to stand up with his feet on the chair.

And Squeek hit me from behind, but she actually only wanted food, this time. Doodle did, too. To be fair, she and Tink haven't been bad. Squeek did do one seven minute stand next to my chair, glaring at me balefully, but she didn't actually try to do rotator cuff surgery on my left shoulder -- that's her usual modus operandi. Small favors.

I finally went upstairs with my textbook and flopped down on my stomach on the bed. I can only do that for so long at a time before my lower back starts bothering me, so I figured I'd give it hell as long as I could. The dog crawled under the bed, so all I really got out of him was some disdainful snorting and sighing. I can ignore that. Tink crawled up on the bed, walked around on my ass for a couple of minutes, then stretched out with her paws in the middle of my back and her feet on either side of my leg. And that's all she did -- she just lay there purring while I read my book.

There are those times I wonder if I'll regret not having had children -- I'm over forty, now, and though it's not yet an impossibility, it's unlikely -- but then Republicans win elections, and the animals around here just add to my conviction that I probably am just as well off I don't have them and never had them.

Because I swear, I'd have had to gas them all, tonight. Tink and Doodle would have wound up all on their own again. Tink might actually have liked it, now that you mention it.

What I don't understand about it is, my four or five hours of working on the computer every day doesn't seem to disturb any of them. They do the usual -- sleep, annoy each other, eat -- and ignore me. As soon as I pick up the book, I become the most desirable human being ever, ever, ever. Tony doesn't exist, and neither do blankie, any of the dozen or so furry mice, any of the chew toys ... the only thing in their already fairly limited universe becomes the one human in the house who has something else to do.

It's not that I don't understand an animal's compulsion to be the center of attention. I just don't understand why a book is more provocative to them than the computer. It can't look that much different, really -- it's usually a white screen with black letters on it, and I'm usually reading it. Maybe they think the book is some kind of additional pet, since it's on my lap? It's suddenly a rival in a way the computer can't be, I guess. I don't know -- I only know it's annoying as hell. I'd hoped to get more reading done than I did, tonight, but you take what you can get, I guess.

Posted by Melinda at November 10, 2004 12:11 AM


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