If I offer to pick you up from Heathrow in rush hour just punch me square on the nose. Thanks. I know we’re British so we are supposed to love queuing but really, I could’ve spent those lost months today sticking needles under my thumbnails, or gouging out my eyeballs with teaspoons. I eventually arrived at the airport to pick up my guest. She was sitting patiently by International Arrivals, with the inevitable build up of cobwebs from years of waiting. Discreetly brushing them off, I introduced myself and she introduced herself back. So far so good. No punch in the nose, but I hadn’t made my intentions clear to her about the rush hour/Heathrow thing so it’s not like she forgot.
I don’t know much about her, but she’s staying for a week so I’ll probably find out. Thankfully Brian has gone to Edinburgh, so I get to slink into his bed rather than cocoon on the sofa, while she sleeps in my unnaturally tidy room. Unfortunately my bedroom has been under siege for the last few days.
I’ve been prioritising my guest’s cat allergy by keeping Pickle out of my room before guest arrives. To get the poor creature used to it. After all she sleeps most nights on my feet with impunity apart from the occasional dreamy kick, and noxious fumes.
She really wants to get in there. She’s very very quick when she chooses. I haven’t got that the velocity, but I’ve got opposable thumbs. I’ve got lateral thinking. And I have a Hoover. She loathes that Hoover. If I’m hoovering, she is making certain she’s anywhere but where I am.
For two days the Hoover – (which is actually a Dyson, I mention in passing in case anyone in branding fancies a quick *head-desk*) – the Hoover … has been in my room. If I stumble out for a four o’clock in the morning pee and Pickle bolts past my legs and under the bed, all I have to do is push a button and she’s right back out immediately double time. It’s foolproof. My neighbours must think I’m up to all sorts, switching a vacuum cleaner on and off in my bedroom repeatedly at 4 in the morning. But it does the trick.
Right now my guest is in my cat free room and so far she hasn’t melted, which I’m thrilled about. Particularly as I cooked for her. I made Chana Masala, and it was great although we are contemplating jihad over whether it should have spinach or broccoli in it. The lines are drawn. I’m sharpening my pan.
As I write, I’m listening to her music on Bandcamp. It’s a live set she played with her husband, opening for Rambling Jack Elliott in Sutter Creek, which is a gold rush town out by Sacremento. It was recorded in a little theatre preserved from those crazy days. “I think most of the people came to see Rambling Jack, not us. But he’s a really cool guy. He smoked all our weed with us.” The music is redolent of that weed and old America. I need to remind myself, as the news gets progressively darker, that I love that crazy vast country. It’s been good to welcome one of its denizens to my home.