Crazy cat lady spots me as I stand next to the ice cream in Bintang (think local supermarket on a par with Lidl). I am talking to my friend who I’ve also just run into when I see her heading towards me at eleven o’clock. And I think about ducking but I’m cornered between a trolley and the freezer.
Crazy cat lady always wears the same Audrey Hepburn Breakfast at Tiffany’s black dress and she has her hair cut into a bob which she must blowdry though heaven knows how she has the wattage in her house – it must fuse the whole of Ubud every time. Anyway, her hair makes it look like Darth Vadar is coming towards me. And she always, always wears sunglasses so large you could eat your dinner off one lens and your dessert off the other. She wears them come rain or shine, indoors and outdoors. I have never seen her eyes. Maybe if you ripped the glasses off lots of wires and red lights would come spilling out of her eye sockets and little puffs of smoke would escape from her mouth and ears as her robot body shut down. Now there’s a thought.
The reason I call her crazy cat lady and not say, Darth Vadar or Robot Holly Gofrightly, will soon become apparent, but let me first tell you a little story. Last week I volunteered at a literary lunch at the four seasons where Louis de Bernieres gave readings from his new book and talked about…well he talked a lot about women actually. During the Q&A session, I watched crazy cat lady stand up (wearing her sunglasses) and asked him for his recipe for catfood. She didn’t ask him about how long it takes him to write a book or whether he plays the mandolin or whether he got to meet Pen Cruz. She didn’t ask him about the political background to his books or whether he visits countries he writes about. No she asked Louis de Bernieres for his cat food recipe. I think I need say no more.
So she corners me and I see my friend smirking at me. And the first thing crazy cat lady says is, ‘Have you decided on getting a cat yet?’
My face freezes into a rictus of a smile. ‘hahahhahaahaha’ I say hoping this answer will suffice.
It will not.
‘Because I have 46 cats needing homes.’
‘They’ve had all their jabs.’
‘Well,’ I say, ‘I’m not really a cat person. Hahahahahahahhaa’
‘DON”T GET A PUPPY,’ she practically roars at me.
I cringe back against the ice cream freezer. Who said anything about puppies? Maybe I used that excuse last time when she was sat next to me at the 4 seasons and there was no escape except into the magically refilling wine glass before me.
I look at my friend and for a perverse moment I am tempted to tell crazy cat lady that said friend just turfed a mewling stray baby kitten out of her house and into the rice paddy because it crapped on her bed. That might take the spotlight off of me and my failure to adopt half the discarded cats of Bali.
There could be quite literally a cat fight in the building. I picture it. I picture ccl hissing and swiping in outrage and my friend hating on me for dumping her in it. I picture myself stepping in and ripping off the sunglasses. And maybe it’s a wig I think as I ponder the fact it never, ever moves like normal hair should. That could come off too.
Obviously I keep my mouth shut because I’m not the crazy one in this situation.