While catching up on the speculation and angst about the theft of seven dolls from the NY Dolpa over the weekend (no links because they're all from the reg-required doll boards - if you visit Den of Angels you can't miss the news), i came across something unrelated, except in as much as it's related to everything about our species.
In a generally brilliant post on Den of Demons, LizzEGirlE, after comparing Mr. Shigeta's reality distortion field to that of Steve Jobs, said Pat Henry (editor in chief of FDQ and co-host of the Dolpa) was in her monkeysphere.
So i followed the link to this terrific piece, and thought, "oh, you mean Dunbar's number", which IS a pretty good explanation for just about any human behavior you might otherwise be unable to suss, even if the actual 'sphere' capacity humans have is still being debated . Who are we connected to, not so much in daily experience, but in our own minds? Why can't understandably saddened doll hobbyists see that there are no comparisons to be drawn between the pilferage of several thousand dollars worth of resin and the Tokyo stabbings? And why does a southern collector believe this wouldn't have happened in a 'safe' city like Atlanta? Why do so many Hillary Clinton supporters think Barack Obama is running for president solely to prevent a woman from doing so? Why does every big disaster story lead with the local angle, no matter how insignificant to the event?
What i most enjoyed about David Wong's piece was his what-do-we-do-about-it wrap-up. The skinny is, we can't fix how we're made, but we can train ourselves to be suspicious of simple answers, and compassionate toward what we perceive as hypocrisy in others. When he mocks human society for malfunctioning because its interdependence and reach exceeds the 150 (or 250) limit, i wonder, do we actually have just one circle, with Dunbar's small, medium and large spheres of relationship stability? Following Wong's hilarious examples, it reminds me that the edges of our circles of interest blend with those of many others... i suspect we humans shift between overlapping spheres of relationship, based on various equally important layers of allegiance and membership, all jostling for primacy. i'm suspicious of all theories-of-everything, but enjoy any practical tools for navigating a world with increasingly clashing worldviews.
Today i went to the Detroit Zoo's Meet Your Best Friend Day, and came home with two rambunctious velcro- kittehs. Sure they look all mellow in the picture below, but don't let them fool you. They are littermates and best pals, and even with a hissing, spitting elderly cat to evade, it took no more than a coulple of hours for them to settle in.
The grey and cream bebeh is Nell, who is the ringleader. She is very brave and affectionate, and her preferred sleeping spot is over my heart. As you can see, she takes no guff from Cthulu or Harvey Pekar, perhaps because he's not her Harv.
The little marmalade dude is Harv, who is a little retiring but eats like a horse, and like many shy cats, has quickly scoped out the immediate rooms for the best hiding places.
Pandy, who really needs the company after losing Eveready, Jim, and the Kramer, hasn't yet appreciated the situation. For months i've been debating whether kittens are for me or her, because she enjoys being the only cat to such a degree her clinging was beginning to wear on me. She's been hissing, spitting, and dashing about as if she's the interloper all day, but is purring on my lap as i write this. The hellions are passed out in the safe corner they have claimed next to the couch. i think it will be OK.
A note on the passing of an extraordinary companion, Kramer. i can't give you his exact birth date or year; he was about 16 years old and was a little past kittenhood when he came to live with me. Anyone who lives with animals is constantly reminding people who don't that they are all individuals, and Kramer, like some people , was more individual than most. As a kitten he lived with my friend Robert, who did indeed name him perfectly after Cosmo Kramer, and when Robert moved to Italy he asked me to take him because we were clearly crazy about each other. Actually, Kramer liked everybody, often to an obnoxious degree. i thought the compact cat was full grown, but he continued to grow in every direction for about four years to well over 20 pounds.
When i married the highly allergic Jim i offered to find other homes for my cats, but Jim wouldn't have it. He insisted on taking allergy meds and having them declawed instead. i oppose declawing, and still do, but after much debate i surrendered, and Pandora and Kramer submitted to the procedure. The odd thing is that it was something like a boon for Kramer. With his expansive, bigger-than-life personality, he healed immediately and seemed almost relieved that people no longer shrieked with pain when he would launch himself at them from across the room and begin hugging and licking. It had been impossible to get him to retract his claws while greeting friends up close. In his mind he was not a spotless, shiny pound behemoth, but still an eight ounce fluffy velcro kitten. When he first moved in he used to propel himself at the brick fireplace, baffled when he didn't just stick. Easy going and generous to all people and animals, he had two rules: it was his world, and there is no such thing as bad attention.
He was diagnosed with lung cancer about a month ago, and at the time we thought he might enjoy many more months, but about a week ago he began a swift decline. Though i'm skeptical of an afterlife such as we might recognize, it's nice to think about him meeting up with Jim, and beginning an evening of mutual teasing they both enjoyed. The photos are from Neal Harkness, taken within the past year. Thanks, Kramer, for being an amazing pal to Jim, Neal and me.