Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Rube Goldberg must have owned a cat!
HOW TO TURN ON THE LIGHTS:
At about two-thirty in the morning, I was unceremoniously awakened from a sound sleep. The following events took place in a span of only about two minutes. The incident has been reconstructed from a groggy memory and some details may be narrated out of their exact sequence.
Apparently Smokey, a recent addition to our family menagerie, had been perched upon my dresser. To the best of my knowledge, no cat psychologist has ever figured out what goes on in a cat's brain. As such, I'll never know why this cat decided it was a good idea to launch himself into space. His trajectory carried him the distance of about five feet from the dresser to the bed.
Nearly all the breath in my body was expelled when he landed on my stomach. In almost the same instant I grabbed the cat and tossed him away into the darkness. The cat landed on one end of a TV tray beside the bed. On the other end of the tray was a bowl from which I had earlier eaten some Grape Nut Flakes. The cat's weight caused the legs on that side of the tray to collapse, which in turn catapulted the bowl into flight.
Normally I sip any remaining milk from a cereal bowl. Not last night/this morning! The bowl, its liquid contents preceding it, landed on my chest and bounced to my right to the side of the bed. The bowl hit one of the other cats which had been asleep on the floor near the TV tray. There was a blood-curdling cry from that cat which in turn sent it leaping onto the bed. She ran across my milk-soaked chest and onto my stirring wife's head before leaping off the other side of the bed.
Next Smokey, the cat-alyst in the chain reaction, began a wild dash from the bedroom, his path forcing him to run across the body of one of the dogs which had been asleep on the floor at the foot of the bed. The rude awakening made the dog begin to growl, which in turn caused the other dog in the next room to start barking.
It is here that I have to reconstruct the sequence of events. There was a series of bangs and crashes emanating from the dining room and kitchen. More asleep than awake, my wife switched on the bedroom lights even as I was stumbling around the foot of the bed to avoid stepping on the still growling dog there.
There were several screeches from multiple cats out in the kitchen. The other dog was still barking. She was apparently afraid to go investigate until I was in front of her. I flipped on the hall light and began to follow the path of destruction. Across the doorway into the dining room was the tipped coat rack. It had landed against and tipped over a chair on which a pile of magazines and newspapers had been resting. The reading material was now a make shift rug scattered all over the carpet.
I stepped into the kitchen before I turned on the light and promptly stepped on what felt like gravel. My bare feet hurting, it was all I could do but grab the counter to keep from falling. By the time I had control of my balance, my wife had made it there and turned on the light. The "gravel" was dry dog food on the floor strewn from one end of the kitchen to the other.
The cat that had been struck by the bowl had apparently attacked the third cat which had been asleep on a kitchen chair. I assume it must have been blaming the other cat for the bowl attack. The one dog's barking was now joined by the one which had been growling.
I felt something at my leg. It was Smokey. He was performing a figure eight between my feet. He let out a weak mew and began to purr as he continued rubbing against my leg. Had my wife not started laughing and pointing at me at that moment, I just might have dropped kicked him into the dining room.
The dogs finally quiet, and the other two cats off to some quiet corner of solitude, I picked up Smokey and carried him to the front of the house. I shut him in the computer room for the remainder of the night. My wife found the other two cats in the back bedroom and closed the door on them. The cats were jailed for the rest of the night/morning.
Fifteen minutes later, after we had cleaned up the kitchen floor, picked up the magazines and newspapers, stood up the coat rack, picked up the cereal bowl and fixed the TV tray legs, my wife began turning off the lights on her way back to bed. I removed my tee shirt in favor of a clean one and then discovered what my wife had been laughing at when we were in the kitchen.
I was exposed below, dangling from my boxers. That unto itself was not unusual. It turns out that there had been more than milk in that cereal bowl. The evidence, about four or five damp cereal flakes, were clinging to that certain middle extremity. Cleaned up, I finally made it back to bed at almost three in the morning.
There you have it, the Rube Goldberg way to turn on the lights.
The moral of the story? Never eat a bowl of cereal in bed.