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One of the ways I attempt to prove to the world that I’m a responsible individual is by successfully keeping alive a small cat called Banchi. Born literally in a flophouse, Banchi was purchased from junkies living on St. Laurent for the price of $40. I am happy to support the heroin industry however I can.
In my own way, I try to give Banchi a superior life to the one she had on St. Laurent. But she will never be a cat of “superior breeding” – this is for certain. In her kittenhood, she enjoyed climbing up the curtain and then divebombing my head or that of my girlfriend. Even now as an adult, at three in the morning she will leap four feet into the air at some invisible enemy on my bedroom wall. She does this repeatedly in the hope of inciting my fury. I’m eventually obliged to lock her up in the living room. Kitty prison. There she resigns herself to her sentence and stays quiet until later in the morning, when she starts miaowing for her breakfast.
Banchi is too small to be a serious hunter. However, she did once catch a huge cicada in her mouth and jumped through my window into the kitchen and released it. Have you ever heard a cicada’s hoarse rasp from a distance of only two feet? Thanks to Banchi, I have. And the other day, she jumped through the window with another of her insect friends half-eaten between her furry mandibles. This time it was a giant moth – a good four inches in wingspan. She buried it under my bed where I failed to find it even after half an hour of searching.
There are other dangers to cat ownership. When female cats go in heat, their behavior is even more berserk than usual. Banchi was on my balcony back in her pre-operation days, and so desperate was she for a shag that she dived the 20 feet to the ground. Fortunately, I was able to retrieve her before she could run away to consort with even worse company than herself. Just last weekend, she had another misadventure on this same balcony. It was a hot afternoon when I exited the house, accidentally leaving the door to my balcony open, and Banchi went out there to take in some sun. But then the door slammed shut afterwards and she was locked out with no shade. This time she didn’t jump. She stayed there and succumbed to heat stroke. When I arrived home and finally liberated her, she crawled into the shade of indoors, gave a pitiful miaow, flopped onto her side, and started panting as if she’d just run a marathon.
Fortunately, she’s better now.
Next weekend, Banchi will be going to the vet to get her booster shots. This is important because she spends most of her days outside. I don’t want her to get feline AIDS or rabies. All this will likely cost another cool $100.
As she approaches her second birthday, Banchi shows every sign of continuing to be a costly pain in the ass for many years to come. But for all the times she rolls over and lets me tickle her tummy, or curls up besides Monika and I on the couch while we watch a movie, or pokes me in the head with her fluffy paw to say “wake up” when it looks like I’m going to sleep in and miss work – for all that and more, I still love her.
I don’t have much enlightening to say about the iPad. But Hugh McGuire over here does. A great blog post, and the comments that follow are equally enlightening. Me, I just watch as another gadget that I can’t afford is released onto the market, joining the company of numerous other products sporting the ubiquitous “i” including the iPhone, the iPod, the iTouch. Sigh.
What I do own, chiefly because it was a business write-off, is a Fujitsu laptop with an “e” key that my cat broke off three months ago. Banchi, you little rogue! My Fujitsu is the computer I use for the Interweb. I also have an IBM Thinkpad from the year 2001, which does not have the Interweb, but it does have a functional keyboard. A very handy thing for a writer!
Steve Jobs is pretty much a celebrity. Isn’t he? It’s perhaps fair to say that anyone with something expensive to sell probably fits the modern-day definition of a celebrity.
If asked what is my favourite word, I would probably say Yak. It makes my girlfriend laugh whenever I say it. In one’s repertoire, it pays to have a few trademark words to throw around that easily accomplish one’s humour goals.
Not surprisingly, Yak rhymes with Mac. Mere coincidence? I think not! Words ending in AK-sounds clearly contain great power. I am convinced of it. As an aside, the iMac is the kind of computer I will own day own. I am committed to realizing this dream.
A short but happy tale. Found this moggy on rue Coloniale last Monday night, meowing and shivering in the cold. Lost! Couldn’t see any sign of an owner, so I took her to the nearest vet where she was kept in the shelter. Eventually got around to making a poster featuring lost cat, put it up in the neighbourhood, but no one called to claim her.
Fortunately, a woman whose own cat was at the vet, a certain Mme Tremblay, fell in love with Coloniale Cat, and adopted her today!
Coloniale Cat won’t become a catsicle, she’ll be free and loved!
It has often struck me that Montreal has an awful lot of pets that go missing. Down on le Plateau and Mile End, you will even see public warnings about a cat kidnapping gang that circulates in a white van, spiriting away our feline friends in the night and taking them to animal experimention laboratories.
In honour of the lost pets of Montreal, and the owners that have loved and lost, but will hopefully see their companions again one day, I’ve started to collect lost pets posters. You can also see these at my flickr page.
Let’s not beat around the bush, my cat Banchi is a savage beast who is dedicated to complicating or impeding almost every aspect of my domestic life. I take my morning shower; she falls into the bathtub and drenches herself. I turn my back on a nice bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats, an instant later, Banchi’s face is in there trying to steal some for herself. (She repeated this act not once, not twice, but thrice.) I open the fridge door to procure some milk, and in a lightning-fast manoeuvre, she hurtles inside and ensconces herself at the back of the bottom shelf. That damn cat! I had to drag her out by the paw.
Banchi is indefatigable in her mischief. Maybe that’s why I love that cat so much. I envy her relentless pursuit of her own amusement.
Cat ownership is nothing without a few weekly epiphanies.
After a self-pitying post like yesterday’s, I think it behooves me to report on things a little more upbeat. Today I announced to my girlfiend that I would be walking from my apartment to Old Montreal, a walk that I estimated would take two hours. She reminded me that I should buy some maple syrup-filled chocolate from the maple syrup store while there.
I think there’s nothing better than making a two-hour trek with no goal besides buying $3 worth of chocolate. Although, for the record, the walk actually took only an hour and a half. And once at the store, I actually spent more than $3, because I treated myself to a hot chocolate. Something to sip while walking in the last of today’s sunshine!
At home, sitting at the computer, I am reminded that kittens have quite different priorities from us members of the so-called dominant species. Often, my kitten, now named Banchi, will flagrantly walk across my computer keyboard, sometimes going so far as shutting it down completely. Other times, she likes to walk across the printer, and given that the buttons are all on top, she is liable to set off the scanner or the mechanism that, to test all systems are working, spits out sheets of blank paper. These noisy emissions startle little Banchi. She stops and stares at the printer, sniffing suspiciously — keeping a tentative distance. Maybe she is worried that one day the printer will attack her.
Needless to say, kittens such as Banchi care about only five things. Playing, eating, excreting, sleeping, and cuddling. If only we could all make our lists of priorities as elegantly simple.
Today is the day of the Canadian election. I voted earlier today, hoping that my support for the Liberals will cost the Bloc Quebecois their seat, which they’ve held since 2006. Overall, though, it looks as though the Conservatives will win again, albeit with a minority. I find Canadians’ choice bizarre, since Stephen Harper’s Bush-lite administration has turned its back on many things that I thought were widely supported. For example, affordable daycare. When they were in government, the Liberals got almost universal support from the provinces for their national daycare program; the Conservatives scrapped it and replaced it with a measly $100 monthly credit that is a drop in the bucket compared to what it actually costs to send a kid to daycare.
And Stephen Harper’s conservatives do next to nothing on one of Canadians’ top priority: the environment. If re-elected, they will preside over yet more Big Oil tax holidays and further increases in carbon emissions. Plus, without rhyme or reason, they cut arts funding, and favour direct ministerial interference in determining which arts projects get supported. Since when did Conservatives became the community standards police?
Closer to home, I have a new bicyle. I purchased it from a rough-looking dude on St. Laurent yesterday. It’s a great bike. Only $25 — probably stolen — but it goes like a racehorse. Yesterday, I took it all the way from Villeray to NDG and back. Beautiful ride.
And today, I continued my trend of buying from dodgy people, and purchased a black kitten from some apparent drug fiends in a basement apartment — again on St. Laurent. The woman answered the door in a skirt-thing that stopped well short of her knobbly knees. Her shoulder was plastered with band aids. A remedy for needle-induced track marks, I wonder? The squalid pit, which was a third of the size of my own apartment, was nevertheless currently serving as digs to the aforementioned woman as well as two men who were content to laze around in their undies. The healthiest critters in there were the kitties. My kittie was reportedly born August 30. She’s tiny. She is now settling into her new abode nicely, and is currently enjoying a well-deserved sleep on my bed.
Meanwhile, work continues apace on scheming of how to make money. I already make a bit of money, but I need to make a lot more in order to be solvent on a month-to-month basis. There could be good news on the horizon, or there could be yet more depressing news. Luck has not been plentiful, lately. I guess I have to go make my own damn luck.
There has been consternation swirling around the issue of cats recently at my Verdun residence. The cats in question are called Ebene and Giroffle, and while not controversial figures themselves, they have generated no small amount of consternation on my part. My relations with both cats have been amicable, especially in the last few months. Giroffle, who was reticent at first, was slowly emerging from his shell and venturing into my bedroom with increasing frequency. This was not a problem. I like cats. I would never say, “Get out of here, Giroffle,” or even, “Get out of here, Ebene.” I mean, Ebene has been like a buddy to me in these times of relative solitude on the homefront.
However, the improved relations with felines became the very source of my later consternation. Antoine, my Quebecois roommate, had been leaving every Thursday morning to go ski and practice guitar in the rural quiet of the Laurentides. He did not come back until Mondays — sometimes even Tuesdays. This left me the sole custodian of the cats’ emotional wellbeing for 4-5 days at a stretch.
On day one, the cats were OK. By day 3, they would start to become agitated. By days four and five, they would turn into mad little monsters, tearing around the place, fighting and seething with resentment at their enforced loneliness. They would venture into my bedroom, hoping for me to engage them in some tummy rubbing, which would distract them from their emotional distress. But there is only so much tummy rubbing I can provide. By midnight, I’d be ready to enter the Land of Nod. But the cats weren’t ready for me to enter the Land of Nod. No. It didn’t matter to Ebene and Giroffle that I had assignments due the next day or presentations to prepare or what have you.
This sad state of affairs reached a boiling point after a particularly sleep-deprived weekend about 14 days ago. I told Antoine that we had to find a way to placate the cats. He was sympathetic to my cause. Maybe he noticed the bags under my eyes.
When Antoine goes away, he now takes the cats with him. And when weekends come around, I sleep in calm and quiet.