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  • Writer's pictureNondiarist

You couldn’t make this up

Excuses. Genuine or fake, they’ve saved face in many an unexpected – or self-inflicted – tricky situation.

“The dog ate my homework” “The traffic was gridlocked” “My phone ran out of juice.”

We’ve all done it and probably got away with it. I have, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

So how does this one rank for an excuse not to meet up with a friend?

A bit of background first…

A relocation – England to Penang, Malaysia. A cat gets uprooted from the only life she’s known. First from a large detached house and garden in Basingstoke to a similar but slightly smaller house in Wokingham. She has no idea her people have only rented this house to fill a gap and she gets kind of used to it, then these same people pack her in a car along with a whole load of other stuff and drive for two hours, to Worcester. This house, again, is pretty similar with a garden and everything and it’s nicer than the Wokingham one and the humans own it. Thank heavens – home at last.

Wrong. She is now living in an apartment (albeit a massive one covering the whole floor of a building and consisting of vast expanses of tiled floor and an unbelievable amount of glass) on the opposite side of the world to Basingstoke, Wokingham and Worcester.

She’s a bright girl and she’s got a bit resigned to all this moving malarkey and she has no real idea what this change of lifestyle involves, but the humans do. They realise they have to buy things like cat grass and efficiently and hygienically deal with litter trays going forward. They’ve also taken note of the animal behaviour experts on TV and decided to drain a bank account and buy her a swanky cat tree.

The Cat Tree Delivery Excuse

It’s got some size to it. I could see me going through a number of Grab drivers trying to find one prepared to take it from the shop to the apartment, even broken down into two sections. But the helpful shopkeeper volunteered to deliver it – people are like that here. This was Christmas Eve too. We’d planned to meet a friend at 4pm at a Thai food and culture fair but the shopkeeper was like, “No, no need to worry. I’ll deliver it to you just after lunch,” and sure enough he turned up in his car, with the cat tree, at 2pm on the dot. It would be a simple matter, we agreed down in the car park, of carrying the components up to the apartment between the three of us and putting it together.

And two seconds later he locked his keys in the car.

The next couple of hours were spent fruitlessly examining all entry points to the car, debating, Googling, sorting through auto technicians to find one who wasn’t either on a lunch break or up to his elbows in an engine, enlisting the assistance of an on-site electrician and security guard (no, we all agreed, breaking the passenger window was probably the worst idea ever), eventually finding a free tech to come and break into the car in a more conventional manner and, finally, putting up the cat tree.

And that’s how I came to call up a friend and explain why we couldn’t meet him at the Thai fair, although my embarrassment was negligible compared to that of the poor, kind shopkeeper.

The friend took the news casually and I’ll probably never know what he really thought. The cat, however, is oblivious and happy.

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