Friday, March 25, 2011


In Catalan, volant means flying.  I had no idea until today that it also means steering wheel.  They mentioned it in a news story and in its context it didn’t make any sense as flying, so I looked it up in the dictionary.  All the time I was taking those driving lessons and failing those driving tests, I never knew it meant steering wheel.  Hmmm…..

My new (used) car seems to want to fly.  The engine keeps surging and going VROOM, VROOM, VROOM, to my great embarrassment.  I can control velocity with the clutch in first and second gears (high gears don’t require it), but when idling I want to sink down into the seat so people around can’t see me.  They must think that either I’m obnoxious or I don’t know how to drive.  Or both.  Of course they are completely and totally wrong.  I do know how to drive.  This has been happening on and off since I bought it, and I have yet another appointment with my mechanic on Monday to get this fixed, hopefully once and for all.

Back to words, I also learned a new meaning for the Catalan word grua today.  Grua means crane (or derrick) or a tow truck.  Today, while watching a program about the natural environment, I learned that it also refers to crane, the bird.  In English, the same word (crane) has the same two unrelated meanings.  Now how strange is that?  It’s the same with the word dret or “right” in English.  It means the direction opposite of left, it means political conservatism, it means something that is due to anyone by just claim, legal guarantees or moral principles.  How did the two languages come to have the same disparate meanings for the same word?

Another mystery.  Felix, my cat who I adopted after he had been shot by an obnoxious neighborhood who probably doesn’t know how to drive, has something wrong with him.  I suspect epilepsy or some neurological disorder.  Next week is his one year anniversary with me.  Twice in this year (the latest episode was two nights ago) in the wee hours of the morning, he has torn around like a bat out of hell, knocking into things, making a lot of noise, peeing on the floor, and finally becoming frozen, or perhaps paralyzed.  Both times it happened downstairs, and scared the heck out of Minnie and me.  The first time I thought maybe someone or some cat had broken into the house, but that wasn’t so.  Both times it woke me up so I only got down at the end of the episode, in time to see him frozen.  The first time he was in the downstairs bedroom (which also serves as the cats’ dining and bathroom and my office), under the bed, looking like he had seen a ghost.  He didn’t move for what seemed like ages.  This last time he was also in the downstairs bedroom, lying in a strange position on the floor, partially in his pee, seemingly frozen.  I didn’t disturb him either time, being afraid to harm him in some way.  Both times he came out of the paralysis after two or three minutes and came back to normal after a while.  I just stayed nearby, (after I had cleaned up the pee) to make him feel secure until he seemed pretty well recovered.  Any ideas on what can be ailing my cat?  The vet said that if it happens only twice a year, not to worry about it.  It would be extremely difficult, maybe impossible to ever find out what the problem is. 

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