Saturday, April 28, 2012

(yesterday's) friday forte: there is no collective noun for cats

scribbles digitally

... or is there?
According to wikipedia, collective nouns for cats a.k.a. the animal that walks by itself and therefore has no need for collectivization, include clowder, cluster, pounce or glaring. I think the last was contributed by the cats themselves in a rare moment of collective action.

Even though the wiki speaks, I don't believe that cats can be collected under a noun. They are far too solitary and independent to be thought of as other herd animals. Only when forced together for survival or by mad pet owners who insist on collecting numbers of felines under one roof will cats involuntarily associate ... in my unscientific and observational opinion. They are, as Kipling noted, by themselves.

And solitary is how I'm feeling right now as the at-home, unsalaried parent in my family. Term finished a couple of weeks ago; work experience doesn't start for another couple (but yay! I have a start date now) and I've 'sunk back' into being yet another stay-at-home parent for the meantime. As long as my family is fed and comfortable, and the house is relatively hygienic, my days are long and empty unless I invent some kind of activity to keep myself busy and occupied. In preparation I made lists of skills to acquire, projects to work on, and household admin needing to be un-shunned - in other words, I planned an anti-idleness campaign which would have worked if I hadn't seen through it in the first week and recognised it for the sham it is. None of what I had planned was, in my mind, purposeful, and what's more, I didn't see any way of determining what could be purposeful in my day-to-day. Big funk.

So I shared this feeling, out there into the ether of the internet.
Now, I must admit I've been castigated in the past for sharing, for discussing health matters, for forcing people to read about my relationship issues, for questioning my role as a stay-at-home parent, for dissecting experiences over my lifetime in this blog. I've been told to be grateful. I've been told to stop inflicting my misery on others. I've been judged selfish and ungrateful, and told to appreciate what I've got. I've been told I'm wrong but I haven't stopped, because on the flip-side of my online dialogue has been an incredible amount of support, non-judgemental understanding and generously offered insight which has resulted not only in personal progress but also in others stepping a little further along that path too. Although I live a solitary life from the morning bell to school pick-up, my online life is anything but isolated.

So back to the big funk and purposelessness and sharing. A couple of comments in reply to Big Funk focused my thoughts and pushed me forward, resulting in an appreciation of why I feel like this and how I can make progress out of it.  The journey is still mine alone and my route towards family work/life balance anything but conventional, but by opening myself up to some collective brain-storming I've cloud-sourced another inch of the map.

Score one for sharing. I bet if cats had thumbs they'd be texting up more important matters than collective nouns too.

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