Thursday, April 5, 2012


It is the day after this picture of Blue and Calico was taken. 9 p.m. I'm sitting just under the reading light in the photo, reading Olen Steinhauer's novel An American Spy.

I worked hard today, first putting together a discussion of the standing metaphor in Döblin's Berlin Alexanderplatz (Franz Biberkopf, who has been "doing time" or in the German idiom "sitting" is released from prison and to adjust, to become a human again, to prove his manhood after proving impotent with two successive prostitutes, rapes the sister of the woman he beat, which crime initially had sent him to prison) and then a discussion on ETA Hoffmann's story "The Sandman," complete with Freud's reading of the story in his essay on "The Uncanny." Tonight I resolved to just read for pleasure.

So here I sit enjoying the passing hours with a spy novel. There's a noise at the door and I let Calico in. She has what she wants so she ignores me and jumps up to where her food dish is.

Blue, I think, would have indicated some kind of thanks and would have stuck his head up for a rub. Thats how he gets what he wants and needs. Calico, however, has what she wants and then turns to the next thing she wants.

I go back to the book. Calico jumps down from the food dish and walks over to her scratching post. She climbs it, working her claws. Then she returns to her food. I return to the book.

I look over to watch her eating from the dish, getting what she wants. She was once a feral cat and is a skilled hunter so she doesn't really need our food. But she is smart and takes full advantage. I watch her eat, watch her jump down to play with a toy she likes, watch her ascend the stairs to get to an overlook she likes.

And I think. I think we're all pretty much the same. We're smart enough and/or have evolved enough to get what we want/need.

My reading and talking about what I've read and helping students to read gets me the house with the window through which Blue and Calico were photographed.

And so on.

1 comment:

michael morrow said...

nice copy...and I'm honored to be one of the animals fortunate to get what I want from you, too