Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fully grown tomcat on the keys

My three cats are bored. They have almost given up on finding the door into summer. Like the cat in the Heinlein story, they spend most of the winter convinced that at least one of our doors "must lead into summer weather." But by the end of February, they get bored of waiting to go outside and start picking on each other and the upholstery.

Yesterday, Sammy was sitting on the back of a picked-over easy chair next to my desk. I was using my laptop computer on the desk, which is unusual because for months I've been using it on the bed as I recovered from my knee replacement. I wasn't paying any attention to Sammy. He's a nervous cat, and it's not entirely my fault. He was raised by a feral mother and has the uncanny ability, described in Fritz Leiber's story Space Time for Springers, of being able to be in one room and then instantaneously materialize in a different room, usually half-way up the curtains. I must confess that occasionally I make a sudden movement or noise just to see Sammy levitate. But I was ignoring him, as I said, and typing on the computer in the middle of a quiet house. All of the sudden, there was a cat explosion. My screen changed to a darker color, with a white box that appeared and then disappeared, leaving me with a screen I'd never seen before, and a "c" key that had come entirely off the keyboard. As I sat there, I realized that the moment before the explosion, I'd seen black out of the corner of my eye. Chester had come up behind Sammy and detonated him. I also realized that my left wrist was bleeding slightly. There were no cats in the room. The house was silent.

Those of you who are not cat people are thinking "why does she put up with such animals?" All I can say, amid my chagrin at being told that I will have to send my laptop away to get the keyboard repaired, is what Heinlein already said best:

Cats have no sense of humor, they have terribly inflated egos, and they are very touchy. If somebody asked me why it was worth anyone's time to cater to them I would be forced to answer that there is no logical reason. I would rather explain to someone who detests sharp cheeses why he "ought to like" Limburger. Nevertheless, I fully sympathize with the mandarin who cut off a priceless embroidered sleeve because a kitten was sleeping on it.

1 comment:

Ron Griggs said...

As tech support person, I am happy to report that the representatives at Apple Computer fully understand that "cat leaping upon a keyboard" is an entirely accidental situation and fully covered by the Applecare warranty. To Apple, cats are an explainable natural phenomenon like earthquakes or tornadoes.

So, in the fifty-year uber-cool-geek war between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, now more than halfway done, score one point for Steve.