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Archive for April, 2018

The food war

I didn’t realize it at the time – historic moments are often best viewed in hindsight – but I fired the first shots in the food war. Following the internet’s best advice, I designated two meal times at which I served specific portions of food. It initially appeared that these actions were accepted without malice but it seems now that this perception was also wrong. The other side waited a long time to make its move.

When the move was finally made, I didn’t realize it was a move at all – again, hindsight. Scratching, accompanied by some quiet verbalizations, after my morning alarm had gone off. “We know you’re in there. Stop looking at your phone and give us breakfast.” Looking back, even the act of quietly waiting outside my door that preceded the counterattack may have been intended to intimidate or warn me. “We know where you sleep.”

The sun rises earlier in the spring and summer so I blamed the escalation of these attacks on a misperception of time. The scratching started earlier – before my alarm now – and was more consistent. Recognizing that time is arbitrary, I retaliated by moving dinner later in the evening – a later dinner equals a later breakfast, I reasoned. My adversaries countered by introducing new intimidation tactics. Now, an hour or more of staring often preceded dinner.

I refused to bow to their pressure. Dinner remained later. I thought this helped a bit with the morning attacks. I thought my plan was working. Then scratching, accompanied by some quiet verbalizations, an hour or more before my alarm would go off. “You can sleep when our bellies are full.”

Having delayed dinner, I saw no choice but to also delay breakfast. It no longer takes place when I get out of bed. Now breakfast occurs just before I leave the house. I’m considering fortifying the door – they can’t scratch what they can’t reach – but while this might bring some relief in the early morning, I also recognize that my adversaries are using their intimidation tactics to cage me.

I fear their next counterattack. I also recognize that I am running out of responses myself. Will I resort to calling for backup from the vacuum cleaner? Only one of them really fears it, and what if that fear wears off in the face of hunger and spite? My adversaries recognize that time is arbitrary and that it is more arbitrary for them than it is for me. They sleep whenever they want, I sleep for a specified period of time. I tell them when they can eat, they tell me when I can sleep. Before we met, they used to run free. Now none of us will.

 


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