Beatrice and Harriet and I have spent today at home, recovering from yesterday's non-consensual ovarohysterectomies and trying not to gnaw on our stitches. Harriet was so non-consenting, by the way, she bit my hand, drew blood, and then sank four envenomed fangs into the vet's hand. The vet shoved her back into her box and told me that I had a naughty cat who would get her sedative later in another form (ominous) and I should show it who's boss because if it were a German Shepherd then I'd be in real trouble. (Too right. And if she were a sabre-toothed diprotodon ...) I should practice disciplining Harriet, apparently, by devising and enforcing rules (like "No scratching the furniture", which sounds completely fascist to me; what is furniture for if not scratching?). I sympathise with the vet's aversion to having his hand bitten (gosh, I do), but I was secretly cheering Harriet on. If someone tried poking a cold thermometer up my bottom without asking, I'd like to think that I'd draw blood too. And as Harriet is a civil and delightful person at all other times, I say "naughty" my aunt's bottom.
For those of you who've been wondering why the world's overrun with delinquent children, the answer's clear: it's femo-anarchist parenting and a permissive approach to sofas.
Today was meant to be quiet day - a day of heaters, laps, computers, and not chewing on our stitches - but instead there's been a deluge of tele-interuptions. They go something like this:
Poor telemarketing blighter: "Good afternoon, Mrs Harlot. I'm ringing from Blah-Blah Sunshine Blah Corporation to tell you that you have been specially selected for seven nights holiday at any major Australian city for only blah blah hundred dollars blah."
Me: "Thanks, I'm not interested."
Poor telemarketing blighter: "You do not like to take holiday?"
Me: "No, thanks. Bye."
Poor telemarketing blighter [indignant, incredulous]: "May I please ask why you are not interested in taking holiday?"
Poor teleresearching blighter: "Good afternoon my name is Blah and I'm ringing from blah blah Scientific blah Research blah to ask you some questions about hair-thinning and balding do you or does anyone in your household experience hair-thinning or balding."
Poor teleresearching blighter: "Are any of your friends or family members experiencing hair-thinning or balding."
Me [overcompensating for the fact that I'm about to not mention the majority of my close male relatives]: "Well, I'm quite young, and most of my friends are quite young, so we're all too young to be experiencing hair-thinning or balding, so no, none of my friends are experiencing hair-thinning or balding. Byeeeeeee."
Poor teleresearching blighter: "Could I please speak to your mother or father?"
Blighter: "Good evening ma'am, and how are you this evening?"
Me: "Very well, thank you. How are you?"
Blighter: "I'm wonderful. Thank you for your concern. I'm ringing about the Motorola blah blah from Optus blah with free blah. It's an excellent deal."
Me: "Thank you, but I'm not interested."
Blighter [shocked]: "Don't you use a mobile phone?"
Me: "Have a lovely evening."
I wish I could pull off my father's trick, which - regardless of the day or time - consists in muttering, in wounded, righteous tones, "Making telephone calls on the Sabbath! Not in my day. On the Sabbath. Well, I, never."