“No, we don’t eat the Ikea,” Phil instructs, as Parker moves from rubbing his face against the coffee table leg to grabbing it with both paws and attempting to gnaw his way through it.
He’s giving me last minute care instructions for his two cats – the other is the lesser-seen Penny – before departing on a work trip overseas. I am the lucky housesitter.
Being permanent indoor cats, they have certain habits and quirks.
“She likes being slapped around a bit,” Phil explains, as he rough-houses Penny.
“Um…how did you discover this?” I ask.
“She just used to thrash about all the time,” he says.
A long-haired tabby with an S&M fetish. I’m sure they’re more common than we realise.
Parker, meanwhile, is prone to making deposits in very specific places if he gets distressed. Phil points out the various places in the apartment where anxious poo is most likely to appear.
Are there any psychologists out there who treat cats with mental problems? Where would they start? Most of them can’t even fix humans.
It’s now Sunday afternoon, and I’ve been here for just over 24 hours. The cats were initially suspicious of the apartment’s new inhabitant, but I think they trust me enough now not to be plotting against me. Food and water gets replenished regularly, and the kitty litter box is a shitter’s dream.
Why am I feeling out of sorts then?
Perhaps because this is the first time I have ever lived on my own, with only completely non-human co-habitants for company.
I’m in a different part of town, so have had to learn new ways of getting around. In a way, it was like moving all over again.
It’s a bright and sunny afternoon, begging to be enjoyed, but I’m locked away in a sanctuary with television and cider.
“Hannah And Her Sisters”, the Woody Allen classic, just happened to be on TV and I found myself watching it. More profoundness, truth and humour in 90 minutes than most directors achieve in their entire careers.
The atheist who searches for meaning when faced with the possibility of terminal illness, and subsequently tries every religion he can think of. Allen plays this character, and finally gives it up when he finds himself talking to some Hare Krishnas in a park.
“You want to become a Krishna?” he asks himself internally. “Shave your head, and dance around at airports? You’ll look like Jerry Lewis. God, I’m so depressed.”
I laughed out loud, and that alone was enough to lift me a little from my own gloomy mood which had set in for the afternoon.
If I wanted to, I could go to bed right now, with the light still streaming in the windows and without eating dinner. But I am determined to learn better coping mechanisms.
I will push my way through this for the next four hours, and I will find something I can focus on and enjoy.
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of emotion, and the peacefulness is something I should savour.
There’s food in the fridge, and food for the mind, so there should be no need for me to take to the Ikea.