26 Comments

  1. Cats are notorious for begging to be on the opposite side of a door, and then, when granted their wish, begging to be back on the original side again.

    Normally, this seems like irrational cat behavior, because there’s nothing new on the original side; they were just there and saw all there was to see. But this time Ludwig got lucky; going inside brought the sun out. Sometimes, it works.

  2. It’s a comment on tech support. They always say “Did you try turning it off and turning it back on?” They can’t explain why this work. It just does. This is a real-life example.

  3. I agree with Arthur: in Heinlein’s book, Pete the cat had the habit (in wintertime) of checking out all of the house’s 17 doors, just to see whether one of them would open up to summer weather.

  4. Research suggests cats are smart enough to recognize “door = something on the other side,” but not quite smart enough to put together that going out again (either through the same door or a different one) will give the same results. One anecdote I’ve read along these lines is a house where the floorplan made a loop, so you could enter the kitchen from one of two doors. Upon finding its bowl empty, the cat would go out of the kitchen and walk around the house to the “other kitchen” in the hopes that the bowl would be full in that one.

    So, going in and back out again in the expectation of a different outside is reasonable cat thinking. And sometimes it works.

  5. Then there’s the French minister who’s named her cat “Brexit”: it wakes her up with its incessant meowing that it wants to be let out, but when she gets up and opens the door, it stands there looking indecisive, and then gives her a dirty look when she finally shoos it out….

  6. “It’s a comment on tech support. They always say “Did you try turning it off and turning it back on?” They can’t explain why this work.”

    Yes, they can. But they’re dealing with people who don’t care how anything works; they just care THAT it works, and if they’re dealing with tech support, it isn’t.

  7. The Door into Summer was for a while my favorite Heinlein (even after publication of Stranger in a Strange Land) and among my favorite SF.

    Twice in later years I reread it, in roughly the times it took place in – so about 1975 and about 2000. My main observations on those occasions were about his account of the development of robotics; which were pretty good in some ways but lacking in others.

    I wouldn’t want to reread it again now, and wouldn’t recommend it for an initial reading by someone unfamiliar with it. I fear that the awkward romance story would be seen as abuse, with the narrator / hero “grooming” his later gf/wife during her underage years, and only thru the semi-magic of suspended animation and time travel managing to make their ages acceptably more equal.

  8. Mitch4, I know what you mean – that part bothered me a bit when I read it as a girl.

    What the #MeToo has ruined for me is M*A*S*H. It never bothered me in the slightest until the movement made Hawkeye’s actions into those of an insensitive jerk.

  9. I think that cats do have at least some kind of object permanence. My cat occasionally demands a share of whatever I’m eating. If it’s something I won’t (or can’t) share with her, the dishes go out the door and don’t come back, but she’ll still scold me for not giving her any.

  10. In my experience, it much more frequently operates in the reverse fashion in the Seattle area.

  11. M*A*S*H the movie has always been problematic, with its message that if you humiliate the stuck-up b*tch she will turn into a regular gal.

  12. ” if you humiliate the stuck-up b*tch she will turn into a regular gal.”

    What? Next thing, you’ll be telling me that if the homely girl just lets her hair down, she won’t look like a very attractive actress. I’m sorry, Mark, but I just can’t take your word over Hollywood’s.

  13. Mitch4/Chak: While that aspect of “Door into Summer” was pretty messed up, it can’t hold a candle to how f-cked up “Friday” was.

  14. ” it can’t hold a candle to how f-cked up “Friday” was.”

    Hmmf. “All You Zombies”

  15. The most classic form of the trope is quiet, plain *librarian* lets down hair and takes off glasses, and is thus revealed to be a beautiful girl. But it doesn’t work that way; I’ve let down my hair and taken off my glasses many, many times and I still don’t seem to be a beautiful girl. Maybe I should shave off my muttonchops also? Just blue-skying here.

  16. “JP: The homely girl has to take her glasses off too.”

    Nope. Just let her hair down, and shake it out in slow motion.

  17. “Been there, tried that . . . didn’t work”

    Weird. It ALWAYS works for Meg Ryan, Jennifer Aniston, and Alison Brie.

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