Friday, May 9, 2008

Making The Cat Laugh

When I first realised that I was not just widowed, but that I now qualified as single again, I thought I'd better brush up on what it meant to be single these days. So when I found Making the Cat Laugh - one woman's journal of single life on the margins by Lynne Truss on the shelves of my local Waterstones, I grabbed it and headed to the nearest cafe straight away.

Five minutes later I was laughing like a drain and thinking there might be hope for me after all. Here are a couple of quotes:

One of the more difficult things to accept about being newly single is that there is no one to strike chore-bargains with. You know the sort of thing: 'If you do the breakfast, I'll take the bin out'; 'I'll get the milk, you get the papers.' Make such fair's-fair suggestions to the cat, I find, and it will just look preoccupied, and suddenly remember an urgent appointment outside.

Looking on the bright side, however, there is great consolation in the knowledge that the Mr Nobody who takes out the bin is also the Mr Nobody who moves things around so that you can't find them. Take the TV remote control, for example. In my old co-habiting days, how many times did I search frantically among sofa cushions for it, knowing in my heavy heart that it was probably travelling anti-clockwise on the M25 by now, snug in a coat pocket on the back seat of the boyfriend's car? Living alone, then, it is no wonder you rejoice that things remain precisely where you left them. You feel a great warmth inside on the day you realize that if you haven't finished the marmalade, there is still some marmalade left. The only interference I have experienced since living alone was when I emerged from the bath one day to discover the word 'trhjwqxz' on my otherwise blank word-processor screen. I gulped, and stood stock still for a minute, feeling the pulse race in my neck. And then I realized that a cat had made a dash across the keyboard.

And this is the one that made me nearly fall off my chair. A male friend had dropped into conversation that she reminded him of the Michelle Pfeiffer character in Batman Returns. She was extremely chuffed until she saw the film and realized that he meant the Michelle Pfeiffer frumpy librarian before she becomes Catwoman:
No wonder Selina escapes this paltry existence by assuming the identity of Catwoman ('I am Catwoman, hear me roar'). The only problem is that, before it can happen, she must suffer a brutal death from defenestration - which gives pause to all the would-be Catwomen in the audience who are fed up shouting 'Honey I'm home' to an empty flat. I mean, is it worth chucking yourself off the Shell building on the remote chance it might turn you into Catwoman? I'm still weighing it up.

But if it boils down to clothes, I am sunk. You see, in order to become Catwoman it is important that you can rummage in your wardrobe for an old patent-leather coat; you then rip its seams and magically re-fashion it into the appropriate figure-hugging costume. Imagine your disappointment, then, if having flung yourself from a high roof (and become a glassy-eyed un-dead) you opened your closet, snapping your expectant pinking shears, to find only a brown calf-length fun-fur, with no patent leather in sight. You would have to become Teddywoman instead, and it would not be the same. 'I am Teddywoman, hear me not make any aggressive noise', you would say lamely, as you sat with your arms out in front of you, unable to bend your elbows.

Fab stuff.

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