It’s difficult to sleep in very hot weather. Add to that the usual problems that cats get up to, and sleepless nights - or, to be more accurate, unrestful nights - may result.
Very early this morning, Josie started throwing up. She normally gives plenty of warning - her heaves will continue for half a minute before they are consummated with the production of upchuck - so I had time not only to get out of bed and make sure she was in the bathroom - she was already - but to put a cat-food box under her to obviate any need to clean up a mess. It was only four o’clock, so I had another hour of sleep remaining, if I could drift off readily enough.
It was not meant to be. One of my outsider-cats, Jessel, had come by for some hard-food and had taken offence at the presence of another outsider-cat, watching him eat. This is one I have seen before, though rarely. A patchy orange and white fellow, whom I’ve named Beaumont, he has not, so far as I know, dined at Café Cosy. And Jessel evidently wanted to keep it that way.
This disagreement over place settings resulted in a wailing match that began behind my apartment, continued down an alley, across a street and back to my apartment, despite my strenuous complaints to a distracted Jessel and his even less mindful rival.
Have you seen 2001: a Space Odyssey? There is a memorable portion of the film, at its start, which depicts very early man’s tribulations when he has no weapons with which to defend himself. The nights are spent in terror of wild animals, and the days are filled with raucous fights between opposing tribes, none of which has the courage to close with its opponents in actual physical combat. This impasse is altered by the arrival of the mysterious and omnipotent monolith, which inspires man to create and destroy. I was reminded of that situation last night: two antagonists, neither of which wanted to risk injury, facing off to see who had the greater courage, or simple endurance.
I suppose, in a very loose adaptation, I was last night’s monolith. But I brought no weapon for one cat or the other. I merely consigned both would-be pugilists to perdition, telling them to come back later, and separately, and they would be served a good meal. I think if 2001’s monolith had taken that tack, mankind’s history would have been kinder. And more filling. I never did get back to sleep.