Saturday, June 30, 2012

How many kittens can fit on the head of a deranged Zen monk?

So let's say there's this girl, at least I still think of her as a girl, even though she's actually a young woman, although, technically speaking, a young woman is also a girl, I mean all women are girls, there's no way around that, irrespective of age, even if she's, let's say, 87 years old, you still might be inclined to say, assuming, of course, that you knew her well enough, "Hey old girl, how's everything?" Okay, you're probably thinking, who would ever say that to someone's granny? Old girl? Sounds positively ageist. Point taken. Unless, of course, you're a Brit. The Brits say this sort of thing all the time and no one seems to mind. They could even substitute 'old cow' for 'old girl' and totally get away with it. Term of endearment and all that, although 'smelly old cow' might be pushing it just a tad.

Anyway, so there this girl. Turns out she's been living in England, for like a long time, and decides she's had just about enough of it. Nothing against the Brits, mind you, it's just that she was sitting around her rather gloomy flat one day, counting teabags, and had this fearful future vision of being awakened one morning by some pale, withered old geezer with a peck on the cheek and a 'Good morning, old cow."
She started packing that very evening, just prior to breaking up with her originally charming, now rapidly degenerating boyfriend, and made the smart, courageous decision to move to California.
Sort of a no-brainer, you're thinking. I mean why go on living in England when you can live in California? What you sacrifice in correct English grammar usage you make up in much, much better weather. Mention 30 days of uninterrupted sunshine to a Brit and they'll conclude you've most likely been recently kicked in the head by a soccer hooligan.
"You should get yourself to an infirmary without delay, old girl."

Anyway, this girl: she actually does it and moves to California. Very cool! Only problem is that she can't take her cat (while in England she has apparently turned into a 'cat person')  As terrific as life on the mythical west coast is, she can't stop feeling guilty about the cat, only exacerbated by the fact that she left the cat with the ex-boyfriend, who is now threatening via e-mail to have the cat turned into a stylishly fury hat and then selling it on e-bay. What else can she do? She decides to return to England, pick up the cat and take it to her mother's place in France, at least for the short term, until she can make arrangements to smuggle the cat into the States. Her mother agrees, albeit reluctantly, citing such possible pitfalls as the language barrier (British cats are notoriously monolingual), the difficult to acquire taste of French cat food and the fact that her dog will almost certainly murder the cat the first chance it gets.

She reasons that no worthwhile endeavor is ever entirely risk free, and besides, what the cat doesn't know in advance ...
She books a flight from London to Paris. She makes preparations, including the purchase of a very small, claw-resistant bilingual dictionary.
Then, as is so often the case, absurdity strikes.
Mere hours before the scheduled departure she is notified by the airline that her request to 'travel with cat' has been denied. Reason offered: there are already too many cats on the plane and, unfortunately, the 'Romney Option' - strapping the cat outside the plane to the top of the fuselage - has been suspended at least until after the U.S. Presidential elections.

Leaving one to ponder, I suppose, what exactly 'already too many cats on the plane' means?
First of all, how many cats could there possibly be on any given flight between London and Paris?
Is there some undisclosed official quota for cats on a plane?
Consider for a moment the size of an airplane compared to the size of an average cat.
The Airbus A380 could hold like a million of them. The entire cat population of England could be easily transported to France in a couple of days. Doing so might even serve the French right.

"Not to worry, old cow. I'm not stealing your cat, merely sending it on holiday to the Continent."

1 comment:

  1. Counting teabags really kind of sums up the English experience for me. Perhaps Her Majesty's PR firm might inaugurate a new ad campaign to lure visitors who'd otherwise be wary of gloomy flats and an over-reliance on tea to solve problems: "BRITAIN: More than just teabags." Then again, if it takes two hours to clear immigration at Heathrow now, I'd hate to think what such a brilliant tagline might do to those queues. They'd have to do a new one then: "BRITAIN: More than just immigration queues".

    Meanwhile, though it's true that an A380 could hold a million cats, the problem is they'd have to certify that those million cats could be evacuated in the event of an emergency within 90 seconds. That's a real headache-in-waiting right there.