Sunday, June 5, 2016

Roof Cats

Find the cat, eh?

Cats are where you find them. Always. This is what I found here:

  • Place: el Hogar Cuencano, "back yard".
  • Time: Morning, noon, and night.
  • What: The neighbor's cat.
  • Justification: Because.
  • Result: Frustrated delight.

I like cats. Don't ask me why. Or ask, but don't expect an answer. I've given up on that sort of thing. Answers are not definitive, only descriptive.

I had a friend — knew him since second grade, had several consumer-grade falling outs with him around the age of 30, following his wife running off with someone else, lost contact, but.

But he was a strong believer in rationality. He liked reasons. Reasons as proof and verification of reality. I go the opposite way. Reasons are not definitive, only descriptive. As a Zen master said (bear with me) Life does not come from ideas. Ideas come from life.

Seems self-evident to me, but as it happens, my friend's brother argued this. First the universal sound, The Word, the fundamental vibration, the ur-idea, and then everything else, then the Golden Age of humanity, then corruption and evil, and now we have to struggle to get back there. Pretty standard drivel, but this was not from the usual Xtian theology but from Sant Mat. OK fine. Same bureaucratic crap.

Just another pseudo-rationalist reaction to life. When you are little, the world is great, expansive, good, and golden. When you grow up, not. Therefore, the human tendency is to extend this to cosmic proportions, and declare that in them olden days we lived in and under (and through, of course), the grace of god (or God, or GOD, etc.). And now we don't.

Because evil. Because hard. Because confusing. Because whatever. So, pseudo-rationalism, the twin assertions that "It just makes sense", and "It doesn't make sense". So "it" either has to be, or it can't be. Whether it is or not. Because arguments define reality.

My friend from second grade once argued that realistic paintings such as Rembrandt's were more accomplished because they were more realistic than anything Mondrian or Picasso had done. Because non-realistic art was not precise, or realistic. Right. He was like that. Probably still is.

Lay your face in a Xerox machine and what you get is better than any Rothko. Sure.

He (and his brother too — I wonder how this can run in families) also said things leading to assertions that all of life was rational, or should be. Like walking or digesting food, or having feelings. This is the sort of argument you hear when someone asserts that people choose to be homosexual or transgendered (or Norwegian, I guess, or white, brown, black, or green). Try digesting something in 10 different ways. Try shitting gold bars. Via consciously-controlled processes.

Rationality? No. Most of everything that happens in life may be understandable but is not conscious, and therefore cannot be rational or under deliberate control.

Like cats. I like cats. Don't ask me why. Or expect an answer. The only answer is that I like cats.

In North America houses have big open yards. Front yards. Back yards. Side yards. Go for a walk, especially early in the morning, and you'll eventually see a cat or two. If you're a decent person and learn how to do it, you can pick up a bunch of friends this way. If you like cats, and if you think that a cat can be a friend of yours. I do. Don't ask me why.

In South America, at least here in Cuenca, Ecuador, things are different. From what I've read and hear, I'd say that things are different in this way throughout Latin America, but I haven't seen Latin America, only this once city. But I think that things are pretty much the same: you don't see cats running up and down streets and climbing fences from one yard to another. Because that world does not exist here.

Houses here are slammed up hard against one another. There are no front yards or side yards. No back yards either, really. Places inside the embrace of their respective architectures, like the old Roman style of house, a courtyard-hugging quadrangle, have secret spaces inside them. And roofs. There are roofs. Roofs attract cats.

Roofs are safe, and cats like the high ground, away from dogs, bugs, and random annoyances. The high ground is clean, open, and mostly bug-free. "Bug me not", thinks the cat. So they climb.

Cats can do that. Dogs can't. People can't, hardly. Bugs stay low. Birds can't climb but they can land on roofs, which is a plus for cats. Cats like birds, in several ways, including as entertainment. Roofs provide that.

So what's the point here?

I like cats. That's it. And I had the chance to pssst! at a nice cat on the neighbor's roof and talk to it and photograph it. And that's how I entertain myself. When I find a cat and can't get close and patiently befriend it.

So there, then.