Institutionalised

The Lap Pig

Like the guinea pigs, I’m thoroughly institutionalised.

They prefer the limitations of their enclosure to the frighteningly wide open spaces of the outside world, and I suddenly find I’m relieved to be sent home from a rare night out at the theatre, welcoming the resonating call of CSI with the resignation of a substance abuser.

The guineas have been living outside in their pre-loved hutch since we came home from France, with daily forays onto the encrusted square of mud that used to be a patch of grass before we left it to dry up for two weeks over Easter.

Today though, it rained and I felt sorry for them in their little wooden prison. So I went across the road to the park to get them some long, juicy grass, and brought them indoors to romp in their old corner of the kitchen, where they’d spent their babyhood.

I didn’t bother to surround them with the planks of wood I’d used to define their territory when they were living indoors, as it was only going to be for the afternoon. And they didn’t bother to leave the confines of the sheets of newspaper I put down to absorb any accidents.

Fast forward a few hours, and I’m off to the theatre, frantically scrabbling about for a few coins to pay for parking.

As I leave the house, I sprinkle instructions behind me, trying to ignore the sound of them thumping onto ground as stony as the hard patch of mud in the back garden.

I go the back way, I find somewhere to park, I find enough cash to feed the evil machine, I run to the box office to pick up my ticket.

“Oh, I think you may be too late. It’s a minute after quarter to,” says the box office woman as she hands me my ticket.

She’s right. At the door to the auditorium I’m told,
“Sorry, you’re too late, and there’s no interval.”
“Oh well,” I reply, “that’s a quid wasted on parking.” And I walk away.

No stamping feet, no arguments about one minute being just one minute. Just a warm feeling flooding up from my feet that at least I won’t miss CSI.

I mean, what kind of reaction is that?

It’s the reaction of someone with a tortoise-like shell that’s been slowly growing around her since leaving work to “be there for the children”.

Or perhaps that’s just another excuse.
Perhaps the “miserable antisocial old bat” persona was always lurking in the background, just waiting for the chance to encase me in excuses.

About Beta Mum

Here you can find the ramblings of a trapeze artist turned journalist who ran away from the circus to join the BBC. Cathy "mine's a Kir Royale" Keir then spent thirteen years working in Jersey, Guernsey and Devon, before downgrading to what you see before you. She has contributed articles to The Guardian, The Stage and Television Today, Junior Magazine and both the BBC and Bad Mothers Club websites. She has two children who think women can’t be prime ministers. She blames herself.
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One Response to Institutionalised

  1. Cathy says:

    The highlight of our Saturday nights nowadays is watching CSI New York.

    We like all of them actually, but sometimes it seems even more sad on a Saturday night!

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