I wasn’t exactly feeling on top of my game today, so I escaped the office at lunchtime and wandered down to the centre of Hove, to ‘the street of the George’ as it is known amongst my colleagues. Walking past ‘Pet’s Corner’ I wandered in, half having it in mind to buy Lola some sort of kitty treat, not that she isn’t plump enough already. Once inside though, I found myself drawn to the back of the shop, where less customers were, and from which the smell of sawdust and dry pellets of food was evident. Pet shops shouldn’t actually sell pets – it can’t possibly be right – but of course they always have done, and this one was no exception. Right at the back there were two or three cages of birds, a couple of cages of gerbils, plus hamsters, rabbits, and the odd rat. I stood watching the sleeping rabbits and fat, twitchy hamsters in rapt pleasure, and for a moment all my heavy-heartedness left me. I was toying with the idea of pretending to want to buy a rabbit, just so that I could ask to pick one up, but at that moment I was joined by a middle-aged women with her down’s syndrome son, who’d clearly had the same idea as me about looking at the animals. We stood there all together, watching, until the son got upset and had to be reassured that he was safe, and that the animals were firmly in their cages and would not be able to get at him.
When I left work this evening, I had my usual dose of computer-induced fuzzy-eyes, and walked through the town in a daze. An advert for a cruise to the Greek Islands in a travel agent’s window appeared to me as a cruise to the ‘Geek islands’, and a magazine cover boasting ‘I lost four stone and can’t stop laughing’ beamed first into my mind as ‘I lost four stone and can’t stop lying’. I really must get glasses, although I think I will miss these little moments when I do.