It has been an interesting year for self scrutiny.
Perhaps as you are asking yourself now, I've been asking myself "Who is Jake Yapp? What kind of guy is he? Is he the kind of guy who refers to himself in the third person, or don't I?"
I know what I am now. It's funny how precise you have to be with the English language. "Cat Woman", for example, conjures images of a slinky feline goddess, of Halle Berry in a skintight leather catsuit, prowling around and generally being inordinately sexy. "Cat Lady", however, suggests something quite markedly different, a bewhiskered, besmocked and bespattered (thank you Rogers and Hart) old lady having a row with herself and stinking of piss.
And that's essentially what I have become, I think. I am 35 and male, but in my heart, I am a crazy old lady.
Yesterday morning at 4.59am (you remember at that time in the morning), I awoke to the smell of freshly-brewed catshit, so eyewateringly potent that it was like having two lit matches put inside my nostrils.
It was Chester, one of my two cats, who, for some reason (I've figured it out now), had decided to shit all over his back end, and stroll through my flat, gently pressing it into everything he could find; floors, carpets, laundry baskets, linen, like some kind of profane potato print.
So at 5.02 I find myself wiping my cat's arse while he looks up at me bemusedly, with an expression that suggests the thought "Wow, Jake, I mean, I'm cool with this, but why would you want to do that? It stinks back there! Still, if it's really what you want to do..."
So later, as I am conducting a not-terribly-pleasant fingertip search of my flat, complete with kitchen roll and the only remaining dribble of proper hardcore nuke-the-planet cleaning fluid I have left, I figure out how this has happened.
This year, I started letting the cats outside for the first time in a couple of years. And, now I can bring myself to touch the little fucker again, I realise that, out in the cold, his fur has grown thicker with the onset of winter. So his little furry pantaloons, so cute and all, have now fluffed to such proportion there is no means of exit for his turds.
So last night, to cap off a perfect day, I spent the evening on my hands and knees, giving my cat's beshittened arsehole a fucking haircut.
He is sitting next to me, washing it now (oh NOW you're washing?), but occasionally he looks up, as if to say "Hang on... I'm sure this was fluffier before..."
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