Monday, April 21, 2014

Stories from a writer’s desk – in search of Jasper


I have had many writer’s desks in my travels. This one is at the resort in the Hunter Valley where I stayed over Easter.

I was sitting there browsing a book on the history of the Miner’s Federation locating spots on a tourist map of the Hunter. Yes, I know that I should get a life, but I need to know about the history of coal mining in the Hunter. I also need better maps!

My attention was distracted by a noise a little way away. Looking around, I found a woman in a nearby unit carrying a large Persian cat. You know how pet owners often resemble their pets? Both cat and owner were very attractive in a well-fed sort of way! Mind you, thinking about that: Avenger, am I a somewhat frightened wimp?!

As I watched, she placed the cat on the low brick wall in front of the unit. I was a bit surprised. The resort is pet friendly, but travelling with cats is a little unusual. They are more territorial, less owner focused, more likely to depart quickly in strange climes.

As I watched, the cat looked at his owner (I am sure that it was a he) and promptly jumped into the low hedge fringing the wall. I could see the cat, she could not. Having done his business, the cat set out to explore, moving along the base of the hedge hidden from sight. “Kitty, kitty” she called, ruffling the top of the hedge to attract attention. No success. Worried, she popped back into the unit to get support. Meantime, I watched the  cat jump onto the wall and then jump next door.

The women’s partner came out. “Jasper, Jasper”, he called, rustling the branches and looking around without success. Coming to the quick deduction that Jasper must be the cat, I called out. “Are you looking for your cat?” “Yes”, he replied. “He has gone next door”, I said. The partner jumped over the low dividing wall, the cat jumped back, and the happy family were re-united. “Thanks”, he called.

I went back to my book and map.      


Anonymous said...

I'm ruminating on the pet/owner comment. Do owners and pets resemble each other in appearance or characteristics? In either case, how do I merge female Aby cool aloofness (except when she wants something), male Aby neediness, and female spaniel abject devotion?

Anonymous said...

Do owners and pets resemble each other in appearance or characteristics?

No, but their demeanour with other humans is a reflection of how they are treated by their owners. They are a mirror of what we wish to see, because that is how they survive, thrive.

And the 'cool aloofness', 'neediness' and 'abject devotion' is you attributing human emotions to an animal which - seriously - does not see you as anything more than a source of food, and occasional company/diversion - but with (to them) the disadvantage of only two legs and an unwillingness to roll in anything dead.

And that's only if you've done everything right.

ps look up anthropomorphising, and then examine your own 'neediness'.

Jim Belshaw said...

MMM! Do I stay out of this conversation?

I think that the owner's image of a suitable pet is partly a matter of self reflection. I remember a work colleague who, running, exactly reflected her Afghan! Now the female spaniel abject devotion could mix with cool aloofness and indeed neediness to mirror a particular person as owner.

Anthropomorphism is a different matter, kvd. Rolling in something dead did strike a chord. Or wishing to share a captive mouse!