I've recently returned from a small family trip to New York, which was good fun. We primarily went to see Billy Joel in concert - we tried to get tickets for Birmingham, but when that failed my mum just went, 'fuck it, let's go see him in New York instead.' (Well, whatever the 60-year-old woman version of 'fuck it' is. In reality, she probably just turned to my Auntie Sue and said something along the lines of, 'well, Sue, it's just got to be done, hasn't it?')
I feel my enjoyment of the holiday was heightened due to actually getting travel insurance this time. The last time I went away for a few days was to Budapest and, having just quit my job at the bank, I was determined to have as cheap a time as possible and could not bring myself to spend what I thought was unnecessary money on travel insurance. Turns out, holidays are a lot more stressful when you don't have it. Did you know that Budapest is known as the 'City of Spas' and has more thermal and medicinal water springs than any other capital city in the world? It has 125 thermal springs! That is 125 opportunities to slip in a country that does not have the NHS, so whilst everyone else was marveling at the grand architecture, I was just walking around all day thinking, 'don't slip, don't slip, don't slip,' and hoping I didn't contract the Zika virus. Not that travel insurance would really do a lot if I did contract the Zika virus, but at least I'd get flown home. Can you fly if you have contracted the Zika virus? Do you have to be quarantined? I actually don't know that much about it... I just looked it up, apparently it can be sexually transmitted. Who knew?! It also warns to be extra vigilant if you are a woman of 'child bearing age' - what age even is that? Anything between 14 and... whatever age it is you start getting hot flushes?
My friends and I recently went away for the weekend for Cat's 30th birthday and were chatting about this very topic. We were staying in a fancy barn in the Yorkshire Dales and it was pretty much what you'd expect from a group of 20-somethings - we went for a walk for a few hours so we could say we'd 'explored the countryside', and then spent the remainder of the time lounging around in front of the fire drinking wine and talking about having babies. One of our friends was panicking that she was reaching whatever age it is when society decides we need to start feeling the pressure to have a baby and she hadn't yet found anyone to reproduce with. (Well, anyone suitable, anyway.) She talked herself into a frenzy, however she soon buoyed herself up with the idea that there were plenty of beings more repellent than her that have managed to find a mate and concluded her rant with a confident, 'if a naked mole rat can get pregnant, then so can I!'
Personally, I have no desire for a baby, although it has been suggested by my girlfriend/friendship group/postman that any signals my biological clock has been giving off seem to have projected themselves via my cat. The words 'attachment issues' have been batted around once or twice... In fairness, it's difficult to disagree with them. I once cried for three hours straight because I convinced myself that she had died in the night. (She had not.) I don't know why I have become so attached to something that a) probably does not give a shit about me, and b) partakes in the following activities:
- bringing dead birds into the kitchen
- bringing live frogs into the bedroom at 4am
- weeing on the post (although she does seem to have outgrown this particular behaviour)
- eating her breakfast at record speed as soon as she is fed by one person, so by the time someone else gets up they think she hasn't been fed and gives her a second breakfast. She does this every morning, and it is premeditated
- eating the Christmas tree
- jumping into the fridge whenever it is opened (admittedly, this is quite impressive)
- leaping onto the shoulders of unsuspecting house guests (which is, apparently, my fault for teaching her this when she was a kitten and weighed as much as a bag of marshmallows. Now she does it with reckless abandon, sinking her claws in for balance. Wearing a sleeveless vest? She gives zero shits.)
She has also been known to bitch-slap the neighbour's cat, but you know what? She's nice as anything, and is by far the cutest cat on the street, and if she is keeping my biological clock at bay (let's not open that can of emotional worms), then it's fine with me. Let's just hope my mum doesn't run her over like she did to our beloved family pet, Shelley.
God rest his ginger soul.