My Fantastic Weekend

I awoke Saturday morning to a text message in which Paula, my closest friend here and neighbour, said that her cat had drowned in the local pond. Indy was sweet and lovely and has spent many evenings curled up in my lap purring, or lolling about hoping for a belly rub. Oh no! I said I would walk my dog and head right over.
Paula's catsMy normal dog walking route goes right past the pond where the cat had died, and I was looking at it sadly, thinking of Indy when, with some distress, I noticed that Indy’s body was still in the pond.
I went around to get a closer look, in case there had been confusion, hoping it was some other cat. I couldn’t see his most distinctive marking, but I was convinced it was him.
Cat and Christmas Tree 1I went around to Paula’s and we tried to figure out who to ring to remove poor Indy from the pond. The RSPCA is only involved with living animals. I found the non-emergency number for the police and called them, apologising for ringing the wrong number, but explaining that I thought the cat’s body constituted a public health hazard. The police woman was annoyed at first, but then sympathetic and gave me the number for animal control and the department of environmental health, both of whom were closed until Monday.
Desperate for distraction, I shaved Paula’s head. However, Jara, Paula’s flatmate, was distraught about the thought of the poor cat bobbing in the pond until Monday, so we went back with a long pole, hoping to get him. And we tried a longer pole. And we tried tying two poles together, which succeeded in reaching him, despite being incredibly heavy, but not in bringing him closer to the edge. It started to rain.
LilypadsSome of the neighbours came by and said their porter could get him out on Monday. Somebody else suggested that we just wade out and get him. I went and got my toe shoes and some latex gloves, rolled up my trouser legs and jumped down into the steep-walled pond.
It was choked with algae, which wrapped around my legs. The bottom was squishy and weird. I waded over to where poor indy was, and pulled him from the algae and walked back to the side with his stiff body. I could see his markings then, and it was definitely him. I put him into a sack and then noticed that my gloves had somehow gotten torn.
Jara pulled me up the very steep sides of the pond. I went home and took a long shower and then tried to reach my girlfriend, but couldn’t.
Instead, I went to check my email and found a conversation on an email list that had been annoying me. The thread had grown. One guy organises a lot of events around here and makes a serious and thoughtful effort to be open and inclusive and does a lot of good things for the community. However, he was going on about innate and immutable gender differences, which rubbed me the wrong way and seemed quite othering. It contained a slur, clearly used without recognising it as such. Instead of explaining why I found this troubling, I flounced from the list.
Then I went to sleep and dreamt of Indy and being hit in the head by fourbytwos (known to Americans as 2x4s).
Hal and PaulaThis morning, Sunday, I put on a shirt that my gf gave me, as I thought I would see her in the evening. But first, I went with Paula and Jara and Paula’s friend to the anti-EDL march. The EDL is a fascist organisation, which had been planning on holding an anti-muslim march in the same area, targeting the East London Mosque, which is very near where I live. The EDL had chickened out at the last second, so the rally and march were peaceful and fun. I met a lovely anarc named Hal, who works at the Freedom bookshop. We all went with Joey and another woman to get a fry up afterwards. Hal may come to Wotever next Tuesday. It was all really good, although there were signs that unrest might be brewing among some other people who had been involved with the demo.
Incidentally, while we are at the pre-march rally, my phone rang and it was a friend asking if I wanted to come along to something. This is significant, because it was the first time that anybody that I’ve met in London (but not dated) has called me with impromptu plans. I’ve lived here for two years. I couldn’t go, because I was already at the rally, but it was very nice to be invited.
I went home and checked my email again and found out that I had very deeply offended the guy to whom I had posted my flouncing and that he had said some unkind things in return. I was distressed to find burned bridges, as this guy has gotten me gigs and getting involved in a row on a public email list connected to my section of the local arts scene is really not wise, especially as I’ll be looking for a job soon. Somebody said the whole group may have imploded in the aftermath, but I really hope this is not the case.
[EDIT: Um, I seem to have gotten this guy confused with somebody else, which is also embarrassing. He hasn’t gotten me gigs, but he is active. (25 June)]
Indy Feeling dejected, I tried again to reach my girlfriend, who said that we neeeded to talk. Uhoh.
The last time I had seen her, she had come with me to my pre-op appointment, where nurses took my blood pressure (good), calculated my BMI (low) and asked me questions like am I a vegetarian (yes) and do I have a will? (I do now.) I found that last question to be rather alarming.
She came along to ask questions about aftercare and to encourage scheduling that would coincide with when she had time off and would be in the area. My operation will by 1 July.
Then she went to a conference in Bristol and I hadn’t seen her since and was starting to get the impression that she was avoiding me. ‘Needing to talk’ was not allying my fears and I didn’t think I had the stamina to bike across town for whatever serious conversation she wanted to have.
And that’s how I came to be dumped via chat.
There was no fight, she just decided she didn’t want to be my girlfriend anymore. Five months of that was enough, I guess. It seems rude to go into details, so I won’t, but she had been idly chatting about moving in together a couple of weeks earlier, so I don’t know.
I decided to check my email again and found out that my proposal to play at the SuperCollider symposium had been rejected.
So to summarise: thigh deep in nasty, urban pond water, holding the corpse of a beloved cat in my bare hands, followed by flouncing, followed by getting dumped over chat followed by yet another professional rejection, of which I’ve had a streak for years, now, I think.
HaircutAt least the march was good and I seem to have some social stability. Which I’ll need because I won’t be staying with my exgf after my operation, obviously, but it will be a couple of weeks before I can carry anything and I’m not sure how much I should be left alone in the day or two after. I’ll be staying with Paula, which is super, but I don’t feel like it’s fair to ask her for everything, even if I cut her hair in return.

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Charles Céleste Hutchins

Supercolliding since 2003

3 thoughts on “My Fantastic Weekend”

  1. That title was a bit of verbal irony.

    The passing of the poor cat was kind of overwhelmed by all the other drama at the same time. I'mv sad about him, but more shocked at my sudden and unforeshadowed change in relationship status.

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