Tuesday, March 15, 2005
My kitten is terrified of my new duvet booties. Well, technically she is neither a kitten nor mine. She joined our rather ramshackle family back in May when the Patient Partner completed his doctorate. Hence, her name is Jacques Monod.
(A few weeks ago one of my favorite friends was visiting, and we explained the name, and then noted that she really was attached to the PP. "Wait," my friend said, "Jacques Monod is a she?" But of course!)
For those of you who are not biochemists, Jacques Monod did many things, including win a Nobel Prize, but for the purposes of this story, his most important accomplishment was crafting the equation that was the centerpiece of the PP's dissertation.
[The PP notes: the statement of the equation to which I have linked would drive his dissertation director batty. What they call the "half velocity constant" is really not a constant. No, no, no. It varies from one compound to another, and so would better be termed the "half-velocity coefficient." Thank you very much.]
And our little Jacques Monod does many things, too, but we are pretty certain she's not going to win any prizes for them.
She climbs the screen door to let us know when she wants to come in. Correction: she only does that as a second step, after she is certain that bodyslamming the door has not worked.
She is an ace rebounder, with her little foam golfballs, which she can catch in midair with both paws. I am working on teaching her the alley oop, but she seems quickly to be exiting her learning years.
She follows the other cats around, and sticks her face in their face, or up their ass, and it is hard to tell which one they like less.
She climbs trees, but then does not know what to do when her momentum runs out and she is only four vertical feet from the ground.
She does windsprints up and down the hallway in the morning, and then leaps up on the bed and puts her face in the PP's face.
Sometimes when I am feeling goofy I put my face up in the PP's face, and he says, "You're getting all Jacques Monodish," by which I do not think he means I am going to win a Nobel Prize either.
But now she is afraid of my new fab slippers. At first I thought it was the sound, because she was sitting on my desk on Sunday night, and then looked a little freaked out, and when I slipped my be-slippered foot along the wall, making perhaps a slightly high pitched scratching sound, she launched herself vertically, then diagonally, then horizontally, disrupting the numerous contents of my desk.
But now I think maybe it is the smell, because she was sleeping sweetly on the bed, and when I came up to her and petted her and called her Baby Faroukh, she was very sweet for a while, and then started to look besieged, and then looked at my feet and twitched her little gray tornado nose and then got up, stretched, and bolted.
This is the first thing that Jacques Monod has ever been afraid of. She is not afraid of either of our cats, or of either of my parents' cats, despite their impressive names, Scylla and Charybdis. She is not afraid of rain or thunder. And, she would like to point out, she is not afraid of the coffeegrinder either, even though she sprints down the hall when it startles her. But the booties? They are another matter entirely, a veritable mystery, here in the furious household.
When you meet Jacques Monod, do not call her Jacques or Monod. She is like Charlie Brown, always gets the full name. You may call her Baby Jacques Monod, but probably only for another few months, because she is already strong and edgy enough that she does not much care for being scooped up and carried around like the bitty baby that she will always be. You might choose to sing to her: "The lovable, huggable Jacques Monod. She's Jacques Monod to you," but she will not dance with you, unless you scoop her up first and then hold on tight--and watch out for the razor claws.