Local Blogs

On a Roll

By Paul Bendix

E-mail Paul Bendix

About this blog: A 32-year resident of Menlo Park, I regularly make my way around downtown in a wheelchair. This gives me an unusual perspective on a town in which I have spent almost half of my life. I was educated at UC Berkeley, and permanentl...  (More)

View all posts from Paul Bendix

Cat House

Uploaded: Dec 2, 2013
Monday morning, my wife's day off, and I get my wobbly legs out of bed, swivel toward my wheelchair...but not quite. It's an early hour, late in life...and I know something is wrong. A cat is sitting on my wheelchair. She stares at me, imperious glare saying "make my day."

I don't have the energy for this. There is no shooing this cat off the wheelchair, not without hissing and a bloody scratch. Even an able-bodied person would be ill-advised to pick her up. I face the wheelchair. I face the cat. I face facts. Turning, I sit down very slowly, hoping the cat will get the message. She does, hissing and bounding away.

Moments later in the kitchen, teakettle struggling to boil, I try to make sense of the small zoo that is my life. It's all questions, no answers. If this is a zoo, why am I living in one of the cages? Which of us is tame? Where can I find the zookeeper?

You'll have to ask my wife why one cat is named Nutmeg, and the other Paprika. The first, the wheelchair occupant, has a rich nocturnal life, much of it shared with me. Being the less mobile of our bed's two human occupants, I offer the most reliable sleeping surface. The best part is my bladder, which is the cat equivalent of a warm waterbed. Nutmeg responds to this semiaquatic environment by imitating an Evinrude. Depending on one's mood, it can be a long night.

Paprika, totally black, likes my wife's head. This places me halfway between two purring cats. The vibratory effect is subtle and disquieting. Airliners have been torn apart by similar forces. The usual effect is to put me back to sleep. Not that this lasts very long. For both cats intersperse sleeping with ongoing research. Nutmeg likes to probe around my face, sometimes gently pawing my nose. Paprika seems fascinated by my breath, drawing close to collect samples.

Which is all perfectly harmless until these activities reach feline critical mass. Explosive hissing, high-pitched shrieks and a crash to the floor...when cats collide. If they actually do. It's hard to say, for I am asleep at the beginning of these cat fights. By the end, I am totally awake, not to mention rapt and adrenal.

With any luck, these cat fights function like an alarm clock, waking me at more or less the right hour. There is even a 10 minute snooze effect. That's how long it takes to wake one of the dogs. Did I mention that we have two? The more demented dog, Bixby, likes to chase Paprika...a sporting event accompanied by canine cheers, a.k.a., barking. Somehow, my wife can sleep through it all. One of us is missing something.

Thing is, I find myself missing all of them whenever we travel. This is a sure sign of Stockholm syndrome. Or maybe capture-bonding is just another term for...life in a zoo.

Comments

Posted by Samia, a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks,
on Dec 5, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Fun post. Thank you!


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Scott’s Seafood Mountain View to close, reopen as new concept
By Elena Kadvany | 7 comments | 2,827 views

Who Says Kids Don’t Eat Vegetables?
By Laura Stec | 7 comments | 1,564 views

Breastfeeding Tips
By Jessica T | 10 comments | 1,467 views

Community Service Helps You, Too
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 1 comment | 1,055 views

Having A Hard Time Getting Your Child To Dive Into Their Summer Reading? Take A Trip To Bookopolis…
By Erin Glanville | 0 comments | 501 views