Week 45.22

Caturday: We picked up our new ragdoll kitten (Cubie “QB” Catbot aka QBasic aka Cubit 3000 aka Yung Cubes aka Cubie Gooding Jr.) and the trip home was a lot less dramatic than I had psyched myself up to expect. No vomiting, screeching, weaponized feces or anything of that sort. Upon getting her home though, things were a little ambiguous. Introducing a cat to a new environment is massively stressful for them somehow — they are my spirit animals, I guess — and she took hours to come out from hiding under the bed and armchair of our guest room.

When I fed her later in the evening, she seemed to be afraid that the food wasn’t really hers to have. She ate a little and watched my reactions. Thinking maybe she needed to be alone, I left the room for over half an hour and hoped she would finish it. But instead, it was barely touched at all. Before taking it away, I thought I’d give it one last try. Sitting on the floor at her level, I nudged the bowl forward with my knuckles and waited. And finally for some reason she realized that it was okay and wolfed it all down in a minute.

The framework for all this in my mind, every minute, is that I am a giant ape and she’s a wild feline, and all our interactions are going to be weird by nature. I’ve been talking to her in a range of different pitches (as in tones, not propositions, but I suppose also propositions!) to get her used to what I sound like, explaining the absurdity of our situation: that she was bred to take the money that this ape has earned by doing advanced ape cognition tasks in an office environment, and although the ape now owns her in the eyes of a legal system, she’s really the boss at this very moment so could she please come out from under the bed?

Yes I’ve watched some Jackson Galaxy videos and read a bunch of articles. Yet her mind is still absolutely illogical and knowing what her tail movements mean only confuses matters. Ape and cat conventions are not very compatible! Instead of smiling and staring, you have to blink At them slowly and obviously to show you’re being friendly! Absurd stuff.

Despite the initial distance and wariness, which absolutely everyone has prepared us for and that I’m prepared to endure for days, she has at least shown that she’s comfortable enough to pee and poop in the allocated box on the first night. Which in some cases does not happen in the first, second, and maybe even third days. I’ll repeat this fun fact: cats can hold their pee in for days.

Reprogramming my aversion to messes, bacteria, excrement, and other catty chaos is going to take much longer. Yes I signed up for it, somewhat consciously. Some will say that this is character growth, but as I was fact-checking a joke before I made it, I discovered that it may also be parasitic growth that I need. You know that cats carry a single-celled brain-altering thing that infects mice and humans, right? It’s like a fungus that makes you like cats, and nudges your behavior in ways that serves cats. Given that I might be brainwashed by my new boss, I thought I’d look it up again and was surprised that 1) it’s really real and 2) for some reason we’re not all talking about this all the time.

They say something like ONE-THIRD of all humans on Earth are already infected with this parasite, which creates permanent cysts in the brain that mess with dopamine production, essentially making its victims (cat owners) more uninhibited and likely to take risks (and also more likely to cause car crashes). It’s like that Jeff Bridges film, Fearless, where he survives a plane crash and comes out with a devil-may-care attitude to life, except you’d call this one Furless? Sorry.

Anyway this parasite actually helps cats by infecting mice, which then become emboldened to step out in front of cats and become their dinners. It also makes the smell of cat feces attractive, luring them out. Not a stretch to imagine it also causes anxiety-ridden humans to be emboldened enough to let cats into their homes, creating new routines that they don’t really have time and energy for (sample size: one). Nature is truly terrifying and ingenious.

In humans, the article linked above says that infection with toxoplasma gondii supposedly increases the likelihood of them quitting their jobs and becoming entrepreneurs, and amongst entrepreneurs, the ones who have been infected earn an average $6,000 more per year than the ones who have not. I’m surprised people aren’t microdosing this stuff in Silicon Valley.

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For reasons I can’t recall, the subject of Enneagram personality tests came up again at work; the last time this happened was maybe three years ago with a different set of people. I sat down to do the test at Truity.com and found that I was still the same: a Type 5. (Later, I would be told that your basic type doesn’t really change throughout life, so that’s another 15 minutes I won’t be getting back.)

Your highest scoring category is the “Type” you are, and once you have your results from Truity, you can look up what it means for free over at this page by The Enneagram Institute instead of paying $29 to Truity.

It gets more fun when you have people or some form of team to compare your type to, and explore your compatibility. Do I believe this stuff? Well, it’s not as bad as astrology: you basically provide the behavioral inputs and they make some logical assumptions about your preferred approaches to situations and tell you where you might be self sabotaging or not collaborating properly. So yeah I do find it pretty interesting, but then I would… because I’m a Type 5.

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I’m excited that Anna of the North has a new album out and will be checking it out as soon as I am able (currently listening out for yelps and mews). Have also been dying to revisit The Beatles’ Revolver in its newly remastered Atmos/spatial audio mix. On my sporadic commutes this week I’ve been playing Rx by ROLE MODEL, Stumpwork by Dry Cleaning, and Charcoal by Brambles. All three are new artists to me, all pretty cool so far.

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