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Okay, it pains me to do this, but let’s start with the blatantly obvious, shall we? First off, I am not now, nor have I ever been a dog. A b*tch, yes, and sometimes with staggering regularity, but The Mom’s habit of referring to the dogs as either my sisters or my nieces is wearing thin.

Yes, the dogs are part of our family.

Yes, I dote on them when I’m home.

But no, we are not actually related.

And I am not as easy to amuse as, say, a beagle. Yes, I do love a good romp around a new grocery store and am very much looking forward to my first trip ever to the Price Club when I visit in the summer, but I need to do more than just smell things and feel I’ve gotten away with something.

I need to pontificate, consider, interrogate and investigate. That’s where the fun is for me. It’s about imagination. And The Pig and I have different imaginations. She might enjoy imagining what it would be like to eat everything in sight, but I however, prefer to imagine what circumstances might be necessary to require, say, a roll of frozen squid (seriously, it comes in a tube, like a keilbasa) or what sort of person might think that a Family Size bag of squid jerky is a good choice (full of salt, like nothing you’ve ever known, and though, yes popular in Asia, The Mom’s house is not located in Asia, or even in a fully Chinese ex-pat town).

The Mom used to take me to the mall, of an afternoon, when I lived with her, when I had cabin fever too. But this has long been one of her favourite tricks.

When we were younger, very young, and had no air conditioning in the house, particularly hot summer afternoons were spent at the mall, enjoying the air conditioning. We’d all peruse the book store, and I do believe it was one of the few times that The Mom didn’t mind spending hours in any store that stocked plastic breakable toys with bright flashing lights. The Mom in the grips of a migraine has little in the way of will power and I think by then she’d learned to block out the sound of our shrill little voices. Each trip ended with a trip to Laura Secord’s ice cream and chocolate shop, too. So on that count, we did much better than The Pig, no freebies for us, The Mom (and in retrospect this was not only foolish but a sign of her weakened state, as we were all of us horribly allergic to sugar and dairy, which are, I think you’ll find, the key ingredients in ice cream) ordered the same ice cream ever single time: mocha chocolate fudge in a sugar cone. Funnily enough, last summer, she L’il Sis and I went on some kind of an outing and The Mom bought us ice cream cones and both L’il Sis and I remembered The Mom’s order, some thirty years later.

The year I lived with The Mom, trips to the mall saw us wandering around aimlessly, trying to kill a few hours. This served a dual purpose of getting me out of the house and also reassuring The Mom that I hadn’t lost all social skills, being huddled up in my room reading for days and weeks at a time.

But now when I go home, I long for the days of cabin fever, or at least, the days before it set in, those long days of doing not much of anything, of sitting around, not bothering to get dressed, or even shower. Oh, heaven. This is what happens I suppose when one finally flies the nest. So look out Pig, and enjoy these shopping trips while you can, because summer’s coming (sooner here in London by the looks of it than back home but still, it will come) and then people will be busy and you’ll be hard-pressed to get them out for a walk.