Monday, August 16, 2010

Ray the Engineer

Today must have been Unexpected Emergencies Day and I missed the memo. Everything I thought I'd finished turned out to have a time-critical Stage II or Stage III that nobody told me about.

So I spent today glued to my chair, working. Underneath my office, in the laundry room, was Smokey, my former cat. He's staying with us for a couple of days because the vet is trying to find out if he has a parasite. Smokey, who is accustomed to living outdoors in a greenhouse at Amelia's, did not much enjoy his day in the laundry room. But he is a passive cat, and simply glared at me when I came in with food. Use the litterbox, cat, and you can leave!

Across the hall from Smokey, in the den, was Mabel, Tom's cat. She can't go out until the abscess under her chin heals. We let her out for a bit last night, but only under strict supervision. Mabel is a far more cheerful prisoner than Smokey, but perhaps it's because she has a nice perch by an open window. (No, it's because Mabel is one of the smartest, coolest cats ever.)

When I finally finished my regular work at 9:30 p.m., I realized that I have a humor column due to an editor on Wednesday. Tom looked alarmed to hear that because I'm pretty far from humorous at the moment.

I'd been sketching out a piece about strange house sounds, but I'm not feeling whimsical enough to give that the light touch it needs. So I pulled out a sketch I'd started some months ago about my frustrations about having heaps of obsolete electronic gadgets and mysterious cables. Since I'm currently halfway through writing the second draft of a technology ebook, a rant about computer cables seemed oh so appropriate. And, yes, it really caught fire and writing it has even cheered me up a bit.

Developing the gadgets-and-cables story allowed me to introduce a new character into the humor column's cast — Ray the Engineer. He's a composite of two or three of my technology fix-it friends (you know who you are — Ray is you, but funnier).

Whatever happens tomorrow: I'm going to yoga at noon.

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