Whoa, what the hell key command did I hit to make that music note? Anyway, I will inexplicably return to consciousness several times during the course of my slumber. I will sometimes discover that in my (un)rest, I pulled the entirety of my comforter up around my shoulders, or that my sheets are now actually off the bed, etc. This sort of thing turns out to have been excellent preparation, however, for the morning I just had.
Mr. and Mrs. Dance have gone out of state for the rest of the week, you see, and I am taking care of the house cat, the clumsy but charismatic Earl Grey. I estimate that in terms of affection for this feline, I am next after Mr. and Mrs. Dance. He's extremely easy going, but sometimes extremely spazzy. It is suspected that he was raised by dogs, for he loves to play tag, wants hugs, and likes to be carried around on any nice person's shoulder. Sometimes he'll sleep in the bathroom sink, yet at other moments, you cannot get him to stay still for any duration.
He knows that I am his food supply for this week. He has also learned that chewing and ripping at paper and cardboard gets my attention fast. As I have ample supplies of both in my room, I am a veritable sitting duck. It's his worst habit. I can't explain it, but this sound somehow gets to me, even when asleep with my good ear completely mushed in my tank of a down pillow. It makes me think that in some past incarnation, Earl Grey must've been a rodent with ever-growing teeth!
He first woke me up with this tactic at five-thirtyish. I gave the usual shouts, "Earl Grey! Nuh-uh! Earl! I know what you're up to! Don't you dare let that thought pass through your cat mind! Do not do it!" He persisted. Rolling over, I gave him the Look of Death, but as a cat, he is immune to it; even if he weren't, Earl Grey is the kind of kitty where if you want to strangle him, you will somehow end up petting him. I gave in almost immediately and left my wonderfully warm bed to feed him. He seemed satisfied, so I staggered back upstairs and eventually fell asleep.
Around eight a.m. or so, I groggily registered something that sounded almost like quick bursts of typing on my keyboard. Impossible, no one else uses my computer! I lifted my good ear from the pillow, and heard that sound! I sat up, and glared. He looked back, unperturbed. He gnawed on a poor box some more, well aware that I was watching. Oooh the kitty nerve! Not wanting to leave my warm covers, I threw a magazine at him (and of course missed, as I was not wearing glasses). Since I didn't connect with my catalogue missile, he wasn't much deterred, and continued his chewing. I chased him. Apparently, he now equated getting me up with getting fed, for when we got downstairs, he did his little food dance by his bowl.
I looked at him. He looked at me. I pointed out that I had already fed him once, but he didn't seem to think this was a good argument.
"You know what," I said. "I'm going to feed ... MYSELF."
So I did.
Afterwards, I decided to stay up. I started reading the Hunchback of Notre Dame (almost typed Notre Damn), but I soon got to a part where Hugo talks incessantly about little Paris details that are no more and here is how they were once again, just in case you missed it the first time, and since I had not slept well, these countless city minutiae sent me back to sleep around eleven. Sometimes I love Hugo's work, and sometimes I want him to shut up and get on with the story. In this case, what I normally would get irritated with turned out to be an excellent sedative.
What should I hear at noon but the sound of cardboard being gnawed by sharp cat teeth? (I later discovered that he had also chewed the upper left-hand corner off all the mail downstairs.)
Earl. Earl Grey. If I didn't love you ...