Category Archives: California

a guilt-trip down memory lane

When I lived in Oakland, I was twice approached after sunset by a panhandler who announced, “I’m black but I’m not a mugger!” Both times I flinched and, of course, felt guilty.

It now occurs to me belatedly that, if young adult males are the most violent subset of naked apes, it’s not irrational to be wary of a solitary nocturnal specimen, regardless of his albedo.

So he had a cute racket.

two small mysteries of the animal world

Around noon the other day, I saw a steady stream of moths flying north along the BART track: not dense enough to call them a flock, let alone a swarm, but enough that I always had a few of them in view. (Maybe they do that every day; I wouldn’t know.) When I came back a few hours later they were gone.

In the dawn’s early light, Pillow (a cat) often sits at the one window that’s near a tree, seeming to watch the birds. He sometimes makes a queer choking noise, like kekekekek; Dad says his cat sometimes makes the same noise. I conjecture that they’re trying to sound like a bird, though I wouldn’t have thought their little brains could conceive of such a trick.