Hairy Laptops and Stripper’s Boas

Like many of you, I am closing in on 15 months of working from home. One day, I will return to the office with fewer social graces, crumbs in my beard and cat hair on my clothes.

Lots and lots of cat hair. In fact, I write these words on a hairy laptop.

One hair source is a white and orange and fire-alarm loud feline named Catniss Poundcake. Her sole purpose in life is to be in my lap. Thus, she has become a fixture on Zoom calls. Often, only the tip of her fluffy tail is visible during important meetings, swishing in my face like a showgirl’s boa.

The second source of Hairy Laptop Syndrome is Cargo the cat, who also goes by “No,” “Get Down,” “Get down NOW,” “OMG! Get down” and “Stop Eating My Sandwich.”

In addition to stealing food, Cargo also enjoys writing emails on my laptop. If I am fool enough to get up while working at the laptop, she materializes and plops down on the keys, adding critical information to work correspondence.

One recent email read: “I will contact the customer and see if Kjhg ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV”

Meanwhile, Abbey Tubesox the corgi—a sweet old dog with bad legs—wants to go outside. Then back inside. Then out again. Then back in.

And because of those bad legs, she needs to be carried to the yard. Sometimes, she has to go potty; most times she has to sniff all vegetation. Either way, she relies on the Dad Transit Authority.

But this column is not just about pets and the pandemic. It also is about snacks and the pandemic.

Many of us gained a few pounds during quarantine. The scientific term is Home Munchie Schlubotitis and, until we can return to the office, the CDC recommends solitary confinement in a steel cell far, far away from Publix.

So, yes, I am not doing well with this work-at-home thing, and my meandering mind is not helping. Here is a partial transcript from my daily routine: I will be productive today. Fire up the laptop and … wow, that is a lot of hair. Do we have muffins? Hang on, Abbey, I’m coming. OMG, Cargo. Get down! Email. Email. Did I clean the litterbox? Ooh, chips. Wait. Litterbox? Dang it! Zoom meeting in five. Hang on, Abbey. Get down! How many wigs does Moira Rose own? Zoom meeting. Yes. Hi all. HI ALL! What the … Mute? Oh, sorry. I wonder if they can hear me eating chips. Turn on my camera? Oh, sure. Dammit. So much for the chips. Good morning. Can you see me now? No, ma’am, that’s a cat tail, not a stripper’s boa.

We have been fortunate through the pandemic. No Schlenkers came down with COVID-19. We are vaccinated. I get at least 3,000 steps each day at Publix. And the office now seems like a sanctuary—a sanctuary that, sadly, requires pants, but hopefully the vending machine will be full.

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