The cat and I have been in a standoff for a couple of weeks now. Cats sit where they please, every ‘owner’ knows that. Any new item placed on the floor: a discarded hoodie, shopping, a visitor’s shoes, will invariably be sat upon. Special bonus points for if you have a map upon the floor (sometimes Google maps on the phone doesn’t quite cut it) which provides excellent strolling territory for said feline.
I read somewhere that cats spend about 70% of their lives asleep. Small wonder then that each inch of a home is used in the quest for eternal rest. Normally this is not a problem. Our cat, Colette, perambulates between chairs, beds and particular spots of a carpet. However a niggling back pain caused me to try out a new cushion on my desk chair. It sits atop a strange bobbly plastic disc that has been there awhile that is supposed to keep you centred. That hadn’t seemed to do much for the niggle, but the cushion has taken it away completely.
But, and you see where this is going, the cat likes the cushion too. Every time I go to my desk she is curled up on it, contentedly napping. THIS, she silently indicates, THIS CUSHION, was all I needed for my final comfort. If I go to the loo, she is in place by the time I get back. There was a period of time when she liked my son’s desk chair. He, being far softer than me, would pull up another chair and lean awkwardly over, so as not to disturb her. I have no truck with that. I scoop her unceremoniously to the floor and reclaim my space.
She turns her back on me, indignation emanating from every hair. ‘I have to sit here,’ I tell her. ‘This is where I have to sit if I need my computer.’
If she’s feeling particularly malevolent, she might choose to leap onto the keyboard just when I’m least expecting it, or hove into view when I’m on a Zoom call. I suspect this may go on a while, as the chair has clearly become a Holy Grail in her little cat mind.
Cushion-gate is an amusing interlude in the ever grey of the English winter, a season of failed New Year’s intentions, the warmth of spring feeling an eternity away. A friend popped round the other day. She was disconsolate because she hadn’t managed Dry January intact. She’d cracked on the 14th. Which I said was very respectable. I told her I was more of an advocate for Moist January, where you identify in advance a few key dates in the month when you’ll have a modest amount of booze – a friend’s birthday, perhaps.
Otherwise it’s relentingly cruel at this time of year. Every hungover New Year’s Day, thousands sign up for the challenge eagerly; the pounding in their head, coupled with the general excess over the festive fortnight, leads them to reach out for a healthy regime of mostly veg and no alcohol. It seems thoroughly desirable and inviting, you can’t imagine EVER wanting to drink again…..
Roll ahead to the 7th or 8th and actually a little nip of wine at the weekend would be just the…oh. So you resist, but come the next weekend or the one after, God, January’s LONG, isn’t it…?!, most crack I suspect. Then feel bad and berate themselves.
No other time of year has this period of excess prior. It is a natural time to do it, and yet SUCH the wrong time. Do it in March, if you must. But do it because you truly want to. Otherwise, invest in one of the ever increasing excellent substitutes to reduce your intake – I’m a fan of Nozecco.
I’m not quite sure why I’ve ‘portmanteaud’ the cat and not drinking into one piece, except I’d wanted to write about Dry January before now and here we are in the tail end of Feb. It must be all those never ending funding applications (mostly unsuccessful) taking up my time.
Well, cats can teach us a lot about abstinence. As in, they don’t believe in it. They do what they want and to hell with the rest of you.
Happy Tail End Of Winter….
I've been reading one of Alan Bennett's diaries (very slowly. Not because I don't enjoy it, but because it's in the bathroom, reserved for my post-shower sit in towel to dry off). It made me realise I would LOVE my own 'What I've been up to this week!' type column in a paper/magazine. So would many thousands of others, I'd imagine. So, I've created my own additional section here. Less ranty, reflectiony or reviewy than the other bits.