Damn my creaky knees. I used to sit cross-legged all the time and now I can’t do it for more than thirty or forty minutes, and even keeping it that short they’re so stiff that as I uncurl them I have to fight the urge to groan, “Oil can! Oil can!” like the Tin Man in Wizard of Oz. I never feel old until my knees remind me just how long they’ve been bending and unbending under my weight.

And yet somehow I can’t relax with a book or the newspaper unless I curl my legs up under me. Even though I know it won’t last, I don’t feel as though I’m comfortable unless I’m sitting cross-legged.

I was sitting cross-legged on the sofa with the Sunday paper this afternoon. Bonkers was quietly curled up in my lap. After I finished the section I was looking at I felt like shutting my eyes for maybe a half-hour, so I got up slowly enough that Bonkers wouldn’t be too freaked out, and so I could unfold my rusty old knees. Then I hobbled over to the recliner and stretched out to rest my eyes.

But I didn’t close them right off the bat. Bonkers, never one to miss out on a warm lap when one’s available, was watching me from the sofa to see what I was up to, and when he saw me take a seat in the recliner he jumped down, crossed the living room floor and popped up on the arm rest before tentatively reaching out with a paw to test the waters, so to speak. I patted a thigh so he would know he had an invitation to nap with me and he settled in, sort of.

First, he had to lick his paws, every single digit, one at a time. When he does his paws he also likes to wash his ears because they sort of go together in the feline scheme of things, I guess.

Once everything was washed he tried to fold his legs up under himself, but he’s an older cat just like me and maybe his knees were bothering him after his nap on the sofa because he couldn’t get comfortable with his legs under him. He had to roll over and stretch his legs out over the top of one of my legs. That bugged him because one of his hind legs kept slipping a little further than he wanted it to. He’d pull it back to where he wanted it but it would slip as soon as he started to doze off and he’d jerk awake, pull his paw back to where he wanted it, doze off, slip, jerk awake, et cetera. This went on until he was too tired to jerk awake. Took about ten minutes. That’s about two hours in cat years.

When he was settled in, cleaned off, semi-sleeping and had stopped jerking, I myself began to finally drift off until he started snoring. Usually a quiet, soothing sound akin to a baby’s sigh, his snoring today had the volume and rattle of a tubercular asthmatic. I’ve never heard him snore so loudly before, and it was impossible to ignore. I laid there, wide awake with my eyes closed, stubbornly insisting on getting a few winks until the clock on the wall went bong at the half-hour, then sat up and said to hell with it. There would be no proper nap this afternoon.

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