Self-Isolation

by Jonah

Today is the start of work week three of our self-isolation. Sometimes I feel sorry for people who live alone. And then there are days where I feel like living alone might be nice.

We might live in the best place in the world for self-isolation. We have a beautiful view. We have more books than we will probably ever read. We have a barrel with 55 gallons of beer (well, the beer evaporates, so it’s less than that).

I’m used to being home and not going anywhere. I homeschooled. So sitting at my desk doing work while another person sits at their desk doing their work isn’t unusual for me. When I was a kid, my little brother, who wasn’t doing school work, would taunt me from the banister up the stairs. When I couldn’t stand it anymore, I’d run upstairs and tickle him to try to get him to stop.

These days Berck works at his desk. I either work upstairs at the dining room table or down at my desk, depending on which place is warmer. If the sun is shining, I like to be upstairs. Today it was snowing, so I came downstairs and sat at my desk closer to the fire.

On a normal work day, if we left for work, the cat excitedly greets whoever gets up first. When that person leaves for work, the cat then goes to the corner of our bed and pouts. He lies there with his appendages tucked under him, stares straight ahead, and won’t react to anything. It’s heartbreaking. When we come home in the evening, he runs to the window and shouts at us through the glass. In the summer, we can hear him meowing loudly. In the winter, all we can see is his little jaw flapping. Then he runs to the door and jumps into my arms or onto Berck’s shoulders and rubs his face furiously against us.

It’s enough to make you guilty for leaving the little guy all day. But you know what he does on the weekends? Around midmorning he starts his nap. Then he gets up grumpily around 6ish. So it’s hard to feel bad for leaving him all day when all he’s going to do is sleep anyway.

But we haven’t been anywhere for the last two weeks, except to go to the store for a grocery pickup and to get the mail (Berck begged to go with me both times so he could drive somewhere… anywhere). And most of the time the cat naps. But today was an especially short nap.

His nose is cold.

Today Professor von Neuamann wanted to walk on keyboards. And he wanted to climb on shoulders. And just like my little brother used to do, he climbed halfway up the stairs and taunted me from the banister.

Some cats like laps. Ours likes laptops.
Mostly, he likes shoulders.
Working hard

At some point, I needed to make a phone call to one of my clients, so I went into the guest bedroom and closed the door. About halfway through the phone call, I could hear the cat yowling from outside the door. Our cat resents closed doors.

Once I finished the phone call, I hung up and opened the door. The cat was not right outside the door waiting to be let in, like I expected him to be. He had used his litter box, which is currently located in the second bathroom, then jumped onto the bathroom counter, switched on the fan, and was perched on the counter screaming. He screamed until I finished scooping out his fresh poop. It was pretty stinky, so it was nice of him to have turned on the fan.

Professor von Neumann knows how to turn on the fan in the downstairs bathroom because he does it to try to annoy us. When he was a “teenager”, I decided to teach him not to wake us up at five in the morning, since every morning he would start caterwauling at 5:00 a.m. on the dot. He apparently thought that was when we should wake up. So for a very long time, every morning he would start singing the song of his people, I would get up, grab him by the scruff of his neck, take him downstairs, and lock him in the downstairs bathroom. This is in no way cruel in any way, but it was quite effective because he hated it so much. He would express his displeasure by banging on the shower doors and screaming as loudly as he could. But because he was downstairs and our bedroom is upstairs, we could barely hear him. He eventually taught himself to turn the light on and then how to turn the fan on. He would scream and turn the fan on and off and on and off, and I would turn over, so my good ear was against the pillow and my deaf ear was exposed, and go right back to sleep. Berck, with his two functioning ears, isn’t as lucky.

The Professor has learned not to wake us up in the morning anymore (at least not by caterwauling). But he has apparently kept his fan-turning-on skills sharp. I still don’t know why he turned the fan on today, other than to express his displeasure at me locking him out of the guest bedroom. I guess I should take him with me next time I need to make a phone call.

Today, after he was being as annoying as he could be, I tried to distract him with a shoelace for a while, whipping it back and forth with one hand while typing with the other. When he got too annoying, I did this.

This slowed him down, though he did start trucking around like a tank.

He was happy to swat at the shoelace through the slots in the upturned laundry basket for a while. But then he gave out a couple of mournful yowls that indicated he was sad that he was trapped. Because he might be smart enough to turn the bathroom fan on and off, but he can’t figure out get out from under a laundry basket.

Maybe I should just give him more practice.

Tuckered out from a hard day of work

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