Jan 19, 2005

Shroedinger, eat your heart out

My cat Agaku, the crowned Queen of the House has learned to fold space.

I don't know how up on your Dune you are, but if you recall any basic space travel sci-fi, folding space is thus:

-- Physics tells us that the shortest route between two points is a straight line, right? No. The shortest route between two points is to take the two points and push them together until they are side-by-side, then you step across. That's the basics of folding space.

My cat has learned how to fold space.

Not all at once, mind you, it happened over the course of months. There would be days when she would be sound asleep in the clean clothes pile, and someone would open the catfood bag or rustle a Pouch for them, and she'd instantly be in the kitchen, without anyone seeing her traverse the distance. Or the litterbox would frighten her, and in a blink she'd be across the house, running away from her own a**hole as fast as she could.

The thing was, her accuracy was not as good as it is now. She would fold space from one point to another and find herself rather far away from where she intended. I know this because I've lived with her long enough to know the expressions on her little feline face. She would appear, say, on my desktop, and her expression would say "Drat, I was aiming for the spare bedroom" or she would suddenly be on the arm of the couch, with an expression that unmistakably read "This isn't the litterbox. Ah well." With time, however, her aim has become frighteningly sharp. Last month she managed to hit the surface of the bed from any point "A" in the house with a 100% accuracy. This was a nice improvement, because there were several nights where she would be in the den asleep on the billiards table, and I'd set the alarm and turn over to fall asleep only to look up and see a small tabby face staring down with a look of chagrin at me from the top of the bed canopy. But, this week has been her crowning achievement--ultimate fine tuning.

A week ago Tuesday night I had just gotten under the covers, trying to touch as little of the material as I could, because it was about 12 degrees. Without even a "bampf" of displaced air (she's rather too small to displace much of anything) Agaku was suddenly on her accustomed spot, which is to say "on top of my chest in the cat meatloaf position." What makes it worse is her smugness about it. She does it with her eyes closed. What adds insult to injury is that last night she decided that she was SO good at instantaneous selftranslocation that she materialised EXACTLY ONE AND A HALF INCHES ABOVE ME in the meatloaf position, so that she could plomp onto me, hard enough to seriously startle me but softly enough that she didn't have to rearrange her tail or anything.

I realise now that all these weeks and months that I have been bragging on her for being able to stay on the highest part of me at all times in bed was completely off base. I thought she was surfing the covers as I vainly looked for a comfortable spot, but the truth of the matter was that she was utilizing minute fold-space maneouvers to keep herself positioned. Show off.

The thing is, now that I need to find out exactly how she does this, so I can sell the rights to the highest bidder. The trouble is going to come from trying to pry the secrets out of her head. She's a cadgey one, that Agaku. This is the same cat that hid her pregnancy from me for months and smoked cigarettes for several long years before I caught her one afternoon underneath an azalea bush sharing a Camel unfiltered with a pair of roly-polies. She's a tricky girl, and with this new ability she's going to be very hard to capture.

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