It’s been a long time since I’ve told you about my cat. It would be good, I think, it would avoid talking about what annoys, what exhausts or overwhelms. Kind Pécresse who brings up the Kärcher from the cellar without knowing where the instructions are; like Blanquer who takes a few days of vacation in Ibiza, and he does well because everyone is entitled to it, but there are so many reasons to disagree with Blanquer that to insist on this detail is bullshit diversion of attention; or else like Roussel, the sympathetic communist candidate, who says that a good meal is good wine, good meat, good cheese, and everyone should have the right to it, and Rousseau takes it up curtly, saying that the favorite dish of the French is couscous, and then there’s also raclette and sushi: it’s a presidential campaign in France with its tragicomic adventures, comical because all the same to tear oneself to pieces over such details it is better to laugh about it, tragic because to maintain the public discourse at this level, it is the whole of France which goes into the wall.
I don’t really want to chronicle it, it would be tiny, pontificating, a bit of a lesson giver, I give up on it right away. So I’m going to talk about my cat.
I assure you, he is fine. Going from our building in the Paris suburbs where he had a long balcony to watch the pigeons go by with a resigned appetite, to a house in a very small town where the garden welcomes blackbirds and wood pigeons, it is for him rejoicing. So he does his Ho Chi Minh, he hides patiently in the bushes trying every day to catch one by ambush, without success because they see from afar and are wary of everything, they always fly away in time. So he jogged back home to eat mash and croquettes, easy foods, exactly the same as in his Parisian life, but he will have experienced a great moment of imaginary exaltation.
But what struck me and what I wanted to talk about is that he does tai chi; for a while now, but I recently realized it was tai chi. I have practiced the thing a little, so I know how to recognize the practice.
It happens when I want to chase it away from where I don’t want it to be: my sheet of paper when I draw and it prowls around the little bowl of India ink, on the computer keyboard on which he goes to bed from 12.15 p.m. and 6.45 p.m., having understood that humans eat at fixed times, but they forget it and they have to be reminded; and when he climbs up on the table to see what’s on the menu, he sniffs everywhere and tries to camouflage himself as bread in the bread basket. I want to chase him of course, so I make him gestures of “Stop! » with my hand, and then I try to push it, and that’s when tai chi appears. If I push it, what I push deforms, recedes, disappears, if I had leaned on it I would have fallen. He erases the point where I press, and he doesn’t change places. It’s very annoying, I’m tempted to make big gestures, but the bowl, the screen, the full glass, everything would be knocked over without even being sure that it was chased away.
“Being yin where the other is yang”, said the Chinese master with whom I was sweating, face to face in the game of pushing hands where it is a question of uprooting the other, and of erasing his push by hiding from it. I see that my cat does this naturally, because of its flexibility and its prodigious sense of support, which makes it a deformable animal that is always in balance. It’s extraordinary this defense by stealth, which is not a flight but a local suspension of resistance, which makes the attacker not push anything, and stumbles on a draft.
My cat is Bartleby, the notary clerk character from Melville’s short story who responds to his boss’s every request with “I would prefer not to”, an indecisive sentence due to the English syntax that can be translated as “I’d rather not”. Throughout the story he behaves like an inefficient employee, refusing any task, any order, with such self-effacement that his boss’s anger finds no outlet, leaving him in a state of stupor that makes his employee uncooperative is still there. He opposes the world with the resistance of a cat, a resistance of tai-chi, and I am like the notary, very annoyed at not being able to drive away my overly curious cat. It ends in anger, in big gestures, and it’s me who spills my bowl of ink. He spins and goes to lick his hair a little further.