‘Goodness, ThirdCat,’ people have said of late, ‘you seem happier these days. The spring has returned to your step, the sparkle to your eye, the glow to your skin…what is the secret of such lightness of being?’
‘Oh,’ I say breezily because I have recently been to the dentist and am not afraid of haliotosis, ‘I’ve just made a few simple modifications to my home. Simple things, but they’ve made life much more comfortable.’
‘So you’ve fixed that top drawer, the one with the cutlery and other useful things so that the whole front panel of the drawer no longers comes off in your hand every third day or so forcing you to use language you’d rather your children hadn’t become quite so fluent in,’ they say.
‘Well,’ I reply because it would be rude to ignore them, ‘that would make a great difference to my general sense of well-being, but no, that drawer remains only temporarily repaired.’
‘Oh,’ they say because they are as interested in the intricacies of my life as I am in theirs, ‘so you’ve ripped out that floating floor because while the name floating floor sounds so ethereal, in actual fact, when things such as metal marbles are dropped on them, as they very often are in a house with two young boys, the sound is enough to snap synapses three houses away.’
‘Oh, no, nothing quite so life-changing as that,’ I say.
‘Ah,’ they say, ‘so you’ve ducked into the hardware shop, that one you walk past every second day, to buy another small roll of felt, and you’ve fixed the felt to the bottom of the kitchen chairs so that they no longer scrape against the floating floor in that way which has grown from irritating to something approaching the sound of fingernails down a blackboard.’
‘Well, no, in fact, yet another of the chair legs has just lost its felt.’
And by the time they get to there, the new chopping board – the one with enough space to fit all of the slices of the bread and the block of cheese while I make the sandwiches – doesn’t seem to have made that much difference to my life at all.
But luckily, most people are too polite to say goodness me, ThirdCat, you’re not looking quite as good as you were.