Lately I've noticed that Ruby, though characteristically aloof a great deal of the time, becomes extremely demanding of my attention if I'm either (1) using a computer or (2) playing the guitar. My theory is that she realizes that these activities require more concentration than my usual household pastimes of eating over the sink and sitting on the couch staring into space, and this is threatening to her. She wants to know that, even when I'm focused intently creating the next great blog post, drafting a bit of highly skilled legal advocacy, or trying my damnedest to pull of a series of complicated barre chords (yeah, that's right), I'm still willing to pause and give her the affection she deserves.
Typically, when I'm at the computer, she'll jump into my lap. If I'm on the couch using a laptop, she'll walk across my lap several times (taking laps across my lap, as it were). When I'm playing guitar, which she apparently realizes requires more mental focus than the computer, she's even more aggressive, propping herself up on my shoulder, mewing plaintively, and biting my elbow. It could be, of course, that she just hates my guitar-playing (or she's worried that my ham-handed plucking is a prelude to another embarrassing YouTube appearance).
But the best part of all this is her reaction when I actually give in to her demands. Almost inevitably, she hops off my lap as soon as I start petting her. If I pick her up she braces her paws against my chin, literally pushing me away. Everything about her conduct screams "I love you, don't touch me."
Pepe, of course, being a big, dumb, simple male, does not exhibit these complex social behaviors. Usually when I get home, after he's been fed, all he wants to do is rassle until he gets tired and falls asleep.
UPDATE: No sooner did I post this did Ruby appear behind me meowing and demanding some lap time.