Friday, June 05, 2009

17.41 On Time
Feel like shit again.

My head's all over the place – can’t concentrate – can’t focus – can’t be off sick due to the three line whip – so I’m rambling instead ... and thinking about stick insects.

I wasn’t allowed pets as a child, so the pets I did have were unavoidably imposed. The first was 'Twinkle', named after the comic. A goldfish given to me as a birthday present by the woman my mum cleaned for. The fish, the bowl, the coloured stones for the bottom of the bowl. No other ornamentation. I can’t remember being especially thrilled to have been given a fish. When she (?) died I’m pretty sure my dad flushed her (?) down the toilet. I don’t remember being overwhelmed by grief.

The next thing was the stick insects. I can’t remember who they came from. Was it someone at school or maybe even the school themselves, desperately trying to give the wretched things away and stupid me being dumb enough to be keen to have them. Why? What was I thinking? They ‘lived’ - for want of a better word - in a coffee jar and ate privet culled from Grandma & Grandad’s hedge. When I eventually became bored with them I released them into that privet hedge to an almost certain death. I don’t feel remorseful, even today.

The third pet I wasn’t allowed was a mouse. Patrick (I was into a big horse racing phase at the time) was much more interesting. He was given to me by my best friend, TheVegetarian, and I saved up my own pocket money to buy him an aspirational, state-of-the-art mouse cage from my Mum’s Freemans catalogue. I'd had him for a couple of years, then he went to stay with my best friend, TheVegetarian, while we were on holiday. When we got back he was dead. She said his cage had been in their greenhouse and, somehow, some wild mice had "got at him" and he had died. It sounded a bit odd at the time and it sounds even more suspicious now. Although I was sad when it happened, I was also a bit relieved that I wasn't the one to have to have discovered the body .

During the years we don’t mention there were a couple of unpleasant hamsters, a half-wild black rabbit, an unfortunate semi-feral tabby and … I might be going crazy, but, I’m sure at one point, for a brief time there was a goat – how could I not know if that was true? I don’t know…but hiding a goat on some waste ground and then building a shelter for it and, ultimately, ‘giving it away' to a school comes to mind. There was definitely a shelter building episode. And it wasn’t even a nanny: there was no milk, just an evil-eyed billy-goat wtf??? Anyway, none of them were my idea.

Jess was my idea.
My only proper pet ever and sometimes I think: should we get another cat?
But I don’t think we ever will.

XO - Elliott Smith

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