Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

20 Jul 2002, 21:39 p.m.

Cat report: I'm beginning to feel alternately parental and Randian about…

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2002 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Cat report: I'm beginning to feel alternately parental and Randian about the cats. One cat, Little Kitty, doesn't meow at me without apparent reason, and purringly submits to petting. I like her and even feel emotional and affectionate towards her. The other, Paul (ne� Juniper), meows and meows and meows. I try following him around; net, his vectors go nowhere. I try checking the food and water; no problems. I open the door or window, but he doesn't want to go out. I try dangling the shiny gold string in front of his face, but that cat won't hunt. I talk to him and pet him and pet him and pet him, and maybe finally he calms down, even as he doesn't seem to enjoy my petting.

I resent Paul, because his helplessness forces me, the more powerful entity, to make sure he isn't unhappy. He drove me to tears just an hour ago with this routine. I feel really horrible when he seems unhappy and there's nothing I can do to stop him from plaintively meowing. Send me your tips, please.

Clerks: I'm getting used to being a bookstore clerk. Most of my colleagues are quite amiable, and I enjoy helping people find reading material. Some notes from my first few days:

  • I find myself plugging Bookfinder and John McWhorter's The Power of Babel an awful lot, and I should probably cut down lest someone accuse me of some variant of nepotism.
  • The most common answers to customer questions: "10 am till 10 pm" and "down that hall and to the left." Over the phone, unfortunately, people don't ask the way to the restrooms. Eric (a supervisor) joked that people should ask for directions to the bathroom as they ask for directions to Cody's, so they won't have to ask in the store itself. "Take 80 across the bridge, keep holding it..."
  • I got to recommend Indian, Thai, and Mexican restaurants to a random visitor yesterday.
  • For common search requests (by author or title or ISBN) I'm now about as bad with the computers as everybody else. Just now, I found myself trying to use Escape instead of the left arrow key to go to the previous page in lynx. Also, I think in my dreams last night I was searching for something in the Cody's system. Also in my dream, the university's departments were arranged like our book shelves, and I was leading Eric, a white man, though the African-American studies section, whose residents did not like that at all.
  • Yesterday I had my first irritating customer, who was unhappy with having to look through all of our Film section since we don't separate out books about non-US cinema.
  • Two different customers came in within ten minutes of each other seeking Aldous Huxley's Doors of Perception. I thought it would be in Drugs, but no, it's in Philosophy.
  • A summer school student from the university came in with a syllabus from Political Science 118AC: Three Cultures. She sought a particular film book, and I saw it very near Professor Michael Rogin's Blackface, White Noise, and I felt very sad that he's gone.