Beginning the silly season with a cat burglary

The only other explanation had to be that the cat had stolen them. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
The only other explanation had to be that the cat had stolen them. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
When my companion appeared clasping the cat and interrogating her about gloves, I knew the silly season had hit. She looked baffled and desperate to escape.

He was insistent the previous day there were four gloves on the spare bed he was clearing in preparation for visitors — a pair of motorbike ones, and the other cosy ski-type gloves for wintry weather.

Now, there were only two.

Had I taken them?

No. Had my 9-year-old granddaughter taken them? No.

Well, the only other explanation had to be that the cat had stolen them — carefully choosing one motorbike one and one cosy one.

When I not so gently (or patiently, it must be said) pointed out that in the two and a-half years Roxy has been with us she has shown no penchant for stealing things, North Otago’s Crazy Cat Gentleman doubled down.

(That is not strictly true about the stealing — despite her timid nature, which has made visiting family members believe she may be a ghost cat because they never see her, she has been known to clamber through the neighbours’ cat door and eat their cats’ food. They stopped that by only feeding their cats at specified times. She has become noticeably svelte as a result.)

"Cats do steal things", he kept repeating, also convincing himself she looked guilty.

I knew cats stole things. The same neighbours lost a pair of fluffy slippers courtesy of one of our previous cats. I found the first one he took and returned it, but he did it again. We never found his second hiding place.

Perhaps he was trying to embarrass me since I used to embarrass him, and everybody in the family, by yelling out "Tipsy Woo where is ooooo?" in the street when I wanted him to come home. It usually worked, until it didn’t, when he mysteriously disappeared.

Now I am beginning to sound like the NOCCG.

The more I pooh poohed the idea Roxy had anything to do with the missing gloves, the more the NOCCG kept repeating there was no other explanation. It was like being stuck with Winston endlessly saying nobody in the media paid him any attention before the election and mainstream journalists have been bribed or Donald banging on about the election being stolen.

Regular readers will remember the NOCCG has been known to wander about stiff-arm clapping like The Donald to hurry me up. I was not keen to encourage that so, after suggesting he retrace his footsteps from when he had used the motorbike gloves earlier in the week, I left the scene of the alleged crime.

Eventually, he found the missing gloves in a box he uses to store winter clothes. (My sister the Earthquake Baby found it astounding anyone in Dunedin would have a winter and summer wardrobe. Such thinking can be excused because she is from Murchison.)

He must have thought he had picked up the ski gloves to pop them away, but instead took one of each pair.

I was moved to ask why it is he often grasps the most bizarre reason for something rather than go for the simplest explanation.

He interpreted that as a rhetorical question. At least I think he did. If he responded to it, I have forgotten the answer.

In the silly season I find it harder than usual to remember very much. What day is it? When did I last wash my hair? Did I put on deodorant today?

At least sometimes my forgetfulness can be amusing to others — when I bought a 2024 diary recently, I told the shop assistant I thought I might already have bought one but if I had I didn’t know where I had put it. What’s more, it would not be the first year I had done that.

I think I will keep working on the memory loss. The first few weeks of the new government suggests 2024 might be a year we might all want to forget. Whether I will find that easier with one diary or two is a question for another day.

PS. Thanks to those who responded to my previous column about telephones with reminiscences about party lines in the old wind-up or crank phone days, and support for my survival today with a burner phone rather than a smart phone. If we can find a phone box which does not reek of urine, we should hold a meeting there to plan how we can take on the world in the new year. (Some may have been baffled by mention of a rotary phone being used for the party line — my reference to a wind-up phone was changed during the editing process. My absolutely not bizarre and simple explanation for this is that subeditors cannot believe I am so ancient.)

 - Elspeth McLean is a Dunedin writer.