Apr 6, 2005

Elocution

So I was standing in the storm last night and got elocuted.

Sorry, couldn't resist. *grin*

Elocution: the act or style of speaking in public. I haven't posted about any of the cats in a while, and since no-one ever bothers to tell me what they do and don't like about my posts, other than the wife, who tells me every day that I should post about her, the cats, or both and nothing more, I shall post about the cats.

Let's talk about C and D. Delilah, our fluffy-butted mostly Siamese is quite the elocutor. She has a big voice and she uses it to full extent and purpose. Her tonal range is pretty impressive, her vocabularly is unmatched by any cat I have ever heard, and she isn't afraid to use any of it. She talks all the time, about everything. Wanting to go out. Wanting Pouch. Wanting more Pouch. Wanting to come in. Wanting to come in and eat Pouch. Wanting to go across the yard and tear Pepper, my mother's 80 pound Shepherd/Chow mix to bloody blonde ribbons. She talks about everything, all the time.

On the other paw is Cracker. When we first got him he was so quiet we thought he was mute. He never meowed, never grunted, never did anything with his mouth except as a place to put food and water, and occasionally as a tool with which to silently bite an offending brother or sister cat. He was affectionate, he was social, he simply was not loud about it. My lovely wife wanted to get him into speech therapy, but having seen plenty of daytime movies and having read a lot of the Bros. Grimm stories I argued against it, suggesting that he simply had nothing to say.

For once I was right.

Years into our relationship, Cracker finally opened up. Not a lot, mind you, just a little. Most times when he meows, if you happen to meet his gaze you can barely see his mouth open. He sort of purses his lips up, opens his mouth just enough to allow a tiny tricke of air out, and sort of quietly and insistently 'meooooooooooooo's. That's it. Nothing flashy, no subtext, very little if any tone or inflection, just one quiet noise.

So this morning, you'll understand, came as a bit of a shock. When I got into the bathroom, Cracker decided he needed to be in there, too. He explored everything, meowing to himself the whole time. I kept asking him what was on his mind, but he was being characteristically close about the whole thing. As I showered I could see him as sort of a blurry white blob moving around the bathroom, and when I got finished and opened the glass door he immediately took his place in the shower. Allowing him some privacy, I stepped out.

He spent the next ten minutes sitting in the back corner of the shower cleaning himself and meowing. I kept telling him that he was standing in the shower and that it was soaking wet, so it was natural that he was going to get wet, but he insisted. I got a laugh thinking about a cat sitting in a shower cleaning himself with the water off, but that was soon replaced by a strange dread--the noise.

Cats have rough tongues. We know this. Cats clean themselves with said rough tongue. We know this, too. Rubbing a raspy surface against a rough one makes some noise. Again, common knowledge. But has anyone really thought about what it's like when you stick this small noise in an echo chamber? Say, a fully-tiled shower? I hadn't. Until this morning. I had been hearing the strangest rustling sound, kept thinking that there was a Triffid out the window that was about to burst through and grab me with one green viney tentacle, but it was Cracker. He was making the most outlandish racket in that shower stall. Snorting, gurgling, and a rasping sound that made me think of a giant wood plane moving over a sheet of plywood the size of the city. And every time he'd get, say, a foot clean, he'd put it back on the wet shower floor, where it'd get wet again, and necessitate cleaning all over, once he'd gotten done respackling a hind foot.

I find myself astounded the neighbor's didn't call the police.

This went on until I simply had to flee the room. I couldn't bear the noise. I managed a glass of tea to settle my nerves, and the freshly clean and somewhat damp Cracker Man came sauntering into the kitchen, as if to show off the shine that comes from Pert Plus conditioner and being Zestfully clean. That's when Dee saw us standing there together, and immediately assumed it was time for Pouch. Little Ms. Golden Eyes and Huge Voice started in, and I decided that dressing outside was going to be the only way I was going to survive the morning, so I took my toothbrush, some toothpaste, a flannel for my face, my pyjamas, a hairbrush, and stepped into the garage.

And that's when Dannon turned the corner.

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