The stunned silence last week was mainly the result of my reeling from the intracacies of the Czech tax system. Unbelievable what a determined person can come up with when given a free rein on bureaucracy, Kafka as a cultural icon and no vowels. That and dealing with the flatmate issue.
For yes, the flatmate has returned, her entry heralded by the colonisation of one corner of the bathroom with bulk-sized designer shampoo and the hiking-up of the thermostat to 27 degrees. She is making very clear her total disbelief in the principle of wearing warm clothing indoors, and apparently she's also having some general difficulty in coming to terms with the concept of wool.
Regardless of the fact that it is quite enjoyable seeing her and having people (her and the supply-flatmate for the slightly more organised and postcard-sending other one who's gone awol) around again after three weeks of solitude, it's also a bit peculiar. Sharing living quarters always involves a certain degree of negotiation, especially if you don't know them very well. Luckily it's all pretty friendly.
But this and Suisan's recent travails brought to mind the the once-upon-a-time when I lived under the overly-bangled wing of the Very Peculiar Flatmate And Her Necessarily Psychotic Cat.* The bees, they did buzz up a storm in her vintage 70s bonnet, all the while insisting that she was a "majorly chilled-out person. buzzbuzz." I moved in with her in desperation, and moved out again shortly thereafter in a fairly similar state.
Foible me this
Fruit was not allowed in the fridge due to the way the mysterious fruity ethers would affect the developmental health of her takeaway dinners. Any casual hoovering or dusting would be followed by an intensive two-hour ordeal to return every item back to its original position, to the millimetre, "because that way I know where everything is."
My particular favorite was the one to do with the direction of cutlery in the drying rack. It may have been a feng shui thing, but failure to do so sent her into the sort of hysteria that could not even be provoked by moving the armchair throw pillows onto the sofa. ("Handles UP! UP I tell you! They must go UP! Terrrrible things will happen if the handles do not go UP!") My own personal theory was that it was due to the unspoken fear that the Necessarily Psychotic Cat, during the course of its unhygenic trips along the kitchen counter, would bend down to lick at something in the sink, trip over the tap and impale itself on a grapefruit spoon.
Fribble and flash
Needless to say, when she went on holiday, I was left to look after the Necessarily Psychotic Cat with a detailed list of feeding and cleaning instructions. Daily calls followed to ensure that I was not doing the underwear-clad dance of the ash-fairy through the front room, scattering dead leaves and cobwebs in my wake. NPC immediately leapt, tooth and claw, to the conclusion that I had done something unspeakably horrible to make the Very Peculiar Flatmate Go aWAY. Everyone's a critic. He consequently set up camp beneath the dining room table from which position he would slash at my ankles anytime I walked by.
You have to admire the purity of his dedication, since he never emerged in my presence or let up in his frenzied attacks, despite my very best kitty bribes. So I wore boots or thick socks downstairs all week (ha-ha). I barred the cat from the kitchen. While I followed the instructions to the letter and then some, I also moved everything in the living room a quarter of an inch clockwise. There may have been some underwear dancing. Best of all, I slotted all the forks, tines-up, in every rung of the drying rack and left them like that all week long. And Life was Good.
*I am normally a cat person. But not this cat. This was a one-woman cat. This cat was a cauldron of seething hatred for anyone but its mistress.