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Thursday 10th April 2014

Thursday 10th April 2014


The day started in excitement and near death as Liono got a bit playful and frisky in our bedroom (this isn't going where you think it's going) and started exploring under our stand alone full-length mirror, somehow unhooked the piece of wood that makes it stand and sent the whole thing crashing down on her. I saw the whole thing but was powerless to prevent it, as the force of gravity works faster than I can get out of bed, but when the cleverer of our two cats (but only in the way that custard is cleverer than muddy water) failed entirely to get out of the way and disappeared beneath wood and (thankfully unbroken) glass. I was pretty certain that at best we'd be taking her to the vets. But she scurried out from under the collapsed furniture and hid under the bed before bolting out of the door. I went down to check, finally finding her sheepish and scared under the dining room table. She wasn't injured and she had escaped with nothing more than an awful fright. She even let me hug her better.

I was glad she was OK, of course and would have been heartbroken if she'd been hurt (these cats are dumb enough already and a blow to the head was not going to help matters), but as she was a cat we'd have got away with that without going to prison and we could just have replaced her after a week or two. But it made me realise how perilous it must feel all the time having kids. If one knocks down a mirror on your watch and their brains come out a bit, then you're going to feel pretty guilty and probably be in some trouble with the authorities. I sometimes envy you parents out there, but not this morning. Having the responsibility of keeping something alive is a very heavy thing.

I had hoped to make some good progress on Sunday's script today, but I think this is going to turn into a real AIOTM experience and I'll be up all night on Saturday trying to come up with jokes. I tried to go for a run, but was tired after a mile so turned the excursion into a supermarket trip instead. I was wearing my "Walking Dead" hoodie. I have never see "The Walking Dead". This was a Christmas present from my in-laws who didn't even know what "The Walking Dead" was, but thought this was a good gift for me because I was doing a show about death. Funny and useful. But of course if you're out and about wearing a Walking Dead sweatshirt people, not unreasonably, assume you are a big fan of the Walking Dead. But as I know nothing more about the Walking Dead than I can gather from my sweatshirt (I reckon it's got some zombies in it), it can be a bit confusing if the fans try to talk to me.

I was walking through King's Mall in Hammersmith (or as we Shepherd's Bush residents, with our massive Westfield call it, " 'king small"- well I do and everyone else should). An attractive woman passed me and I may have been guilty of giving her a second glance. A security guard sidled up to me and indicated that I should take out my earphones. I wondered if there was a zero tolerance policy to mild, instinctive lechery in this place. No wonder there were so few people shopping here. We all like to check each other out, right. Though that would explain why all the women in the place were so fastidiously ignoring me in spite of my sexual magnetism.

But he had a smile on his face, so I thought maybe he'd recognised me from one of my rare TV appearances. "You can join our game," he whispered slightly salaciously. "Me and the other guards here, when we see a woman we like we say, "Claimed"". I thought it was an odd thing to say, but again thought he had maybe seen me looking at the women. I thought it was a bit over the top because it wasn't as if I'd stood still with my tongue hanging out and my eyes telescoping out of my head. It was such a quick glance that I was amazed he'd seen it. But not wanting to upset a man with a uniform and the possible power to lock me in a small room until my mum arrived to pick me up, I half-laughed. Though I was slightly perturbed that the honourable profession of mall guards had been sullied by this rotten apple who saw the women here not as customers or even potential shoplifters, but as sex objects for him to "claim". I mean I had briefly seen one of them as an object of attraction myself, but that's why no one is giving me a badge and a gun. I didn't enjoy finding myself lumped together with this guy. It had only been an appreciative glance, not something that needed to go down in the annals of Everyday Sexism. And yet finding myself in the subset with this grinning satyr did a good job of making me feel bad about this momentary and instinctive response. The satyr had accidentally satirised me and my own mild hypocrisy. As appalled as I was to be in the same portion of a Venn diagram as this man, I realised that I deserved to be. Even though, as it turned out, he hadn't even caught me out in my moment of being a human being.

"Don't give me any spoilers," he added. What? Was he concerned I might let him know that some other women were approaching from around the corner and he wouldn't get to judge them by their physical appearance on his own? "You up to date with it all," he asked. I suddenly remembered what I was wearing and realised that he must be referring to something in the TV show, that he had assumed that I had liked. Not that unreasonably. I don't know enough about the programme to know if you can assume that anyone who is a fan of it would be up for for sexist banter with a stranger. I appreciate that stopping teenagers stealing pens from WH Smith must be a very dull job and that this man must lie awake at night wishing he was working at the Westfield, but I am not sure it's appropriate for him to reveal to a stranger that he enjoys eyeing up women whilst working. I mean he is a man so I would assume he would do that. But the contract is that none of us talk about that and pretend that we don't do it.

I had to pretend that I had seen the whole series because otherwise I would have to admit the truth that I had never watched the show and had no idea what it was about or what it meant if someone was "claimed", though I had an idea. And that would have made me look a lot more odd than just pretending I was prepared to join in with his game.

Because it's odder to wear a garment that implies fandom of something you've never seen that it is to tell a stranger that you enjoy ogling strangers. Affiliating yourself to something you are unaware of is the real crime here.

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