Marking time

It's stupendously easier than it used to be.

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Vali is back. She’s sitting on my lap, and from my current angle you wouldn’t know that anything had happened. In a bit she’ll shift herself and lie on the other side, at which point I’ll see the vast expanse of shaved skin, and the ugly stitches that are an unfortunate but necessary result of having a leg amputated.

She gets around fine on three legs; indeed, as per the vet’s suggestion, she’s probably doing better on three whole legs than on three legs plus a useless leg that hurt. A couple of days ago she was sleeping on the bed close to me as I read, and had what I at first thought was a fit but I think was just epic annoyance (I imagine those stitches itch); otherwise she behaves as it nothing happened, other than I took her to the vet’s for a few days and they lopped her entire front-right leg off. She was back at the vet’s for a check-up, and everything’s fine; no unusual swelling or complications. Even better, she’s quite happy for me to grind up her antibiotics and mix them with her normal food, so I don’t have to worry about forcing it down her throat.

At the vet’s, they asked me how old she was, and I couldn’t tell them. I know that we got her mother Helen in the summer of 1994, but that’s because we used to name cats with date-sensitive names. I know Vali was born shortly afterwards, but when exactly? I have no idea.

What’s fascinating is how this is no longer a problem that we have these days. People tweet, blog, or post to Facebook this sort of thing (e.g. Habibi or, at most, some months after the fact, Taji). I found a shoe box of old photos in the attic here at Merlhiot; a fair few of the photos meant nothing to me because I had no idea who some of the people in them were, and in a generation’s time even more of them will be unfathomable because the only people who could have told you will be dead or significantly difficult to get in contact with. Hell, for the vast majority of them, my family hadn’t mastered the fiendish art of writing names, places and dates on the back of the prints. These days, all photos are automatically dated, and probably tagged, either by the author or by nosy busybodies on Facebook.

With a few rare exceptions, incidentally, the photos in the shoe box do not include any that I took myself. This is almost certainly a good thing, as when I was a teenager I decided that taking photos of people was cheesy and a waste of time, so decided to take photos of interesting things instead. In retrospect, this was a bad idea, as a) I’m not a good photographer (and was an ever worse one then), but b) I’d quite like to remember what people looked like back then. Bah. Stupid spotty self-centred teenage me.

These days, of course, it would all be on Facebook or Twitter, and even if you didn’t take photos of people, other people would, and you’d end up linked to them. I love living in the future.

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