What to do about Kate

I don’t know. It’s as though there seems to be a trend of naming mischievous girls Kate. Is it a conscious thing or are there just a lot of people that love Shakespeare?

Friday, I abandoned my duties as a housewife, threw caution to the wind and went to the pub. There are many that may think there is nothing wrong in that, but there are those that know me that upon reading this or first hearing of my trip to the local would be quivering, nay, quacking in their boots. You see, I don’t drink. When I say don’t, of course I have to try the wine before I add it to the Coq. There would be no au vin if I didn’t first make sure it was a suitable vin to au? You don’t make the best Coq au vin with lousy vin. It’s the same with any dish, you add the best to get the best.

It began when I was invited to one of those charity coffee mornings. You know the ones, bring your cash, have the coffee and cake and natter for a few hours. It was an open invitation to join the locals in a pub, to raise money for the Macmillan Trust. A local that I have never been to, with people I don’t know and more importantly don’t “KNOW” me. Hey hey, they do now!

I was good, I behaved myself. Kate was pleased to see me, but I felt I was being shadowed, looked after or was that supervised. I’m not rude, well not always, and I’m not that bad, not really, but Kate did have a habit of saying to anyone I spoke to, “What’s she telling you. Jen, what are doing. She’s a gal,” she would say awkwardly to whoever happened to be within ear shot. I might as well have taken Mark, he’s good at supervising. OK so I told them all I’d had four husbands, adding jovially that the first one belonged to some other wife. Yes, I told them that I had a shot gun and had shot….no, I didn’t really, but there was a lot of scope for comic relief. And that my friends is why I am the way I am, my comedy is a way of relieving all the anxiety I get when I go somewhere new with people I don’t know. Kate on the other hand is just jovial and as it happens the centre of the locals wild, erh, sorry social life.

I didn’t get to make a cake, I was busy on the Thursday, but I really didn’t need to, there were enough cakes there to send to any third world country and introduce them to diabetes. I opted for a jam scone and a cup of coffee, which was very nice.

Saturday, I got wet, I mean wet, wet, and Kate rang. Kate is my cousin and we are very close. We have told each other our deepest secrets all our lives, not our secret secrets you understand. There is always that, “Will she tell my mum?” thing in the back of my head when we talk. Other times we can talk about everything, things I know she would never tell my mum, and I wouldn’t dare tell hers. For instance, I know how many condoms she gets through a week!

I’m there taking off my soggy bra, and trying to feed the dog when I get a message. I didn’t answer just sent a smiley face. It’s rude I know, just as rude as a thumbs up. Sometimes you feel as though it’s a middle finger you want to send. Phones are bad enough, ringing whenever they please.

“Hello, I’m from grgrgrgna a a marketing.”
“I’m sorry who is this?”

“My name is Jack.”

“Really, not interested goodbye.”

It’s at that point that I really wish I could send a middle finger emoji to the “marketing” company. So, getting a message from Kate with the picture of a local paper was a bit suspect. I scanned the paper, god forbid if I had missed something. Was Kate on the front cover, was there a story about her, or her ex, or her parents, or the cat the mysterious boyfriend that still hasn’t been introduced to the family. No, none of the above.

“I’ve never been so happy to get a local bulletin,” she wrote.

Honestly, I’ve just walked three miles in the pouring rain and she interrupts my life to show me that she’s happy to get a local paper. I scanned again. Then FB notifications pinged in. Kate No.1 had tagged me in a post about the money the pub had raised. Sticky bra deposited on the floor I walked up to the bathroom in my drippy knickers. A soggy dog on my heals. Ting, messenger again. Now what? Kate No2 (my cousin) Really!

“Seriously though.” She wrote.

I did the thumbs up, Kate is aware of the sarcasm behind the thumb, we’ve had that discussion. I hearted the post from Kate No.1, as a curtesy and went back later. God bless her little cotton socks, they had raised a whopping £1222.

Thinking I’d get in first I called Kate No.2, no answer. Sod’s law, she pings me stupid at the worse moments and just when I have time to ping her back she doesn’t answer.

Mark and I had just got into the car and the phone rang.

“You called?” It was Kate No.2.

“Yes. I just wanted to know why you sent me a picture of The Bulletin?”

“Because I haven’t had a local paper for sooooooooo long.”

Interlude: Many years ago, when we were kippers and the World was so much easier Kate and I went our different ways for a while. She got all political, well as political as you can get at 14 in a small town. I got, ermmmm, let’s just say I didn’t develop late.

Kate campaigned and organised and fought for a centre to be opened for teenagers. Somewhere they could go rather than hanging around the park. She won and was on the front cover of the local paper. Ever since then she has been obsessed with local news. So not having a local paper for over a year in her area was a big let-down. So, in a way I can see why she got excited.

I humoured her and we talked about curtains and camera’s and leaking boilers. But that’s another story.

“I’m sorry Kate, we are on our way out.”

“Oh where are you going?”

“To the Theatre, we are going to see Taming of The Shrew.”

Now that struck me as being quite ironic, however it seems that Kate didn’t get the joke as Mark and I laughed.

“Is that a comedy?”

“I suppose so, it’s a Shakespeare play.”

“Ahhh, like the Shakespeare in Love film with, Fiennes wasn’t it, that one, erm, Joseph. Oh yes and her, that Paltrow woman.” You could hear her pretend to spit on the other end of the phone, at least I hope she pretended.

“No, its…” I struggled to find an analogy for Kate. “It’s that one where the woman is a bit of rough and she has to be made to be a better wife. You know the one. The one where Kate is the unruly woman.”

I hoped she would catch the irony but then fervently that she didn’t. I really didn’t need a touchy Kate on the end of the phone thinking I was calling her a bit of rough. Instantly I thought of Kate No.1. No not because she was a bit of rough either, just because I had to deal with two Kates in two days.

I took a deep breath when the phone call ended, grateful that there had been a funny side to Kate. The next conversation was going to be just as hard.

We had the usual discussions on the way to the theatre, “you’re going the wrong way.” “STOP! It’s a roundabout.” “You missed the turning.” “Who’s driving.” “I’ll shut up now.” You know the conversations.

Finally arriving I turned to Mark. “This might not be what you would expect of a Shakespeare play.” Tentative words ushered through a tentative smile.

“Why?”

“Kate is a man in this production.” There I said it. Perplexed maybe, but interested, the comment didn’t issue forth any forebodings from Mark.

We went, we watched, we left, we discussed.

“Brilliant, well worth it, Kate played by a man, the men’s parts turned into women’s rolls, ingenious, brilliant. Kate was Tamed.”

The phone pinged the next morning. “The boilers leaking, got poncho’s, can’t use heating.” At least I wish it was that simple. Kate went through the whole thing, seals, puddles, sheepskins and microwaves. She even told me that she could raise the temperature in that room by 2 Degrees if she ironed.

I wonder if I could find someone to tame Kate, both of them. No.1 wouldn’t have to worry about what I said to her friends any more, and No.2 wouldn’t keep pinging me, or am I the one that needs taming?

On that note I’ll leave you with this.

“I’ve forgotten my phone, I’m not ignoring you, unless I am.”
Posted by my good friend Roger yesterday on FB. Definitely going to use that one.

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