Friday, March 26, 2010

Good night and good luck

Have you ever seen a cat as it prepares to go to sleep? Most cats deem the "self" as the only thing worth any respect, and with jolly good reason.
After stretching forwards and backwards fully, she will drop herself onto the napping area with a "plonk" of exquisite precision. If you have any experience with plonking, and I have plenty- with varying degrees of failure, you will know that the act consists of paying no heed to your weight and dropping your body to the ground. At the very last moment, when the ground is seemingly waiting to prevent you from falling off through the other end of the planet, and of course, while that very ground is readying itself to induce a great deal of pain in order to cure you of your insanity, you must make the ground's task easier, by suddenly taking charge of yourself and landing perfectly. You must not waver. You must show no sign of instability. You must not be shocked. It must be as if you had planned it all, till that very last minute. And in order to win a cat's respect, or in fact any acknowledgment of your presence at all, you must do it without exertion and demonstrate a callous grace. It so happens, that it is humanly impossible to "plonk". And that simply settles the matter for all cats.

After having successfully plonked, a cat will proceed to retract all her limbs. She will draw back her paws underneath her belly. And in a splendidly fluid motion will twirl her tail and tuck it in. And in a final flourish, will droop her ear-lobes. The bundle of fur, the cat, having without a doubt earned a good nap and a great deal of vanity will go to sleep.

Of all those moves and frills, it is the drooping of the ears that I envy the most. I have always wondered what people do with their ears when they sleep at night. Unfortunately, I have never been able to ask this question. I cannot imagine any dinner conversation, any idle chatter, where the question "by the way, what happens to your ear lobes at night?", will appear as a seamless part of the rest of the conversation. As a result, this question continues to remain unasked and unanswered and I am left to deal with my ears. For starters, let me disqualify all those people that sleep flat on their backs from offering any suggestion. I do not understand the point in sleeping, if you're not going to bundle up as much as you can. Because, the creators, the followers and the modifiers of the English language all seem to think that the flat-back-sleepers aren't worth spending too much time on, no one has bothered creating a separate word or a separate category for that alternate and unpleasant form of sleeping. My question is directed to what I would call the "true" sleepers- those that try in vain, to bundle up and generally fold themselves up.

What do you do with your earlobes ?

Here's what happens to me. The ear lobe is this strangely convoluted flap that is very good at directing vibrating air into your ear so that you may make sense of all that sound around you. What it is despicably bad at is getting out of the way, when it is not at all required. At night, therefore, when I place my head onto the pillow, my ear-lobes are annoyingly stuck in between. Often, they will fold further, so that, when I get up in the morning, they're really hurting. At the place where they've folded, I will often find a largish red zone. I have tried several cures. For instance, I have tried the obvious- not to lay my head in such a way that them lobes fold. But between my conscious act of lying down to the unconscious act of sleep, clearly, my ear-lobes are managing to dance to the tunes of absolutely nothing, folding and meandering through the depths of darkness, through the silence of the night. So you will not be surprised when I admire, with much pain and heartbreak, the look at a cat, perfectly happy with its drooped ears, and the drooped ears perfectly happy with the way they have gotten themselves out of the way.

Now of course, I have entertained the possibility that we humans have found a way around this. In fact, that big piece of flesh that we call the brain, is right between the ears. They ought to communicate rather well about these kinds of imminent problems. Except, I don't know, and for the aforementioned reasons, cannot ask and not be thought of as a thoroughbred lunatic.

And so, if you please, you can tell me the answer right here.

And perhaps relieve me of my miseries.


Suyash said...

Haha! Brilliant observation - I can't offer any useful advice though. Let me know if you find a cure. :)

Sandhya said...

Wear big chunky earrings when you go to sleep :) The pain should make sure you never sleep on your lobes.

Janani said...

@ suyash : will do! i will expect monetary compensation though.

@sandhya: combat pain with more pain? not a bad idea. maybe i'll go the whole way and get one of those wooden pillows that geishas use to get the perfect posture- numb myself out of all senses.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post :-)

I'm glad I came across your blog. Will blogroll it.