I’ve agreed to let a complete stranger sleep in my bedroom next week. I’ll sleep on the sofa. It just seemed the right thing to do. She’ll be visiting an unfamiliar town in an unfamiliar country, and money is tight for her. I know how that is, and even though I hoped and failed to find someone like me in LA last time I went, I still try to angle karma when I can. After all I’m waiting on a lucrative job, so any positive energy is good. Besides, she’s a vegan and I am back into another month of that sort of thing. I’m not very good at it. Today I’ve eaten lots of chicken, and mussels and red wine. Tomorrow I won’t. Over the last few months I’ve been smashing myself with everything I could find, and like the tide I feel the need to pull out for a while after a full flood, before smashing back in again.

My forthcoming guest is allergic to cat hairs, and Pickle has been in the habit of sleeping at my feet every night. Last night I was woken at about 3am by pain. I sat up until it was gone and she came and nuzzled my face. Then as I drifted back to sleep she curled up near the painful bit. As she goes about her ministrations she explodes hairs like a mushroom pumping spores. And not wanting to accidentally kill my guest, I began operation de-catify this morning.

First things first, I spent a good few hours at the launderette, washing all the towels and sheets and cushions and blankets etc etc. She loves to jump on the towel rack and spread thick chunky portions of herself all over the towels. If there’s a sheet drying she’ll make sure it’s covered in her. I don’t know how she manages. She’s tiny. Lady Macbeth says “Who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him.” I’m in a similar state of bafflement about her hairs. If I were to sleepwalk tonight I’d probably do it miming a cat roller.

Not having a tumble drier means that we have to hang sheets on doors etc. Then they look like cat toys or climbing frames. And they play host to yet more hair explosions, or get pulled onto the floor and rolled on. I love Pickle. But I have to look at space differently now.


I took my laptop to the launderette and tethered it to my phone. As I sat in a coin operated launderette I still somehow felt like I was living in the future. Sure I probably could’ve gone online and paid about the same for door to door laundry with a sexy logo. But I’d sooner give it to someone in Pimlico with a shop front. I sat while the wheels went round and round and sent a load of invoices and emails that were just coming due. Then I read my book. People around me were doing much the same, and one woman was meditating.

Now I’m back at home. There’s a new hook and eye on my bedroom door, so you can lock yourself in now. I’ll consider doing that tonight so Pickle doesn’t sneak in, tempted by the freshly hoovered floor, and gaily explode hairy catastrophe everywhere as I sleep.

(Photo credit Tanya Feldman)

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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