So … cats ruining video calls. Always hilarious when it happens to someone else and you’re just observing. Distinctly less funny when it’s your cat, and you’re the one responsible for maintaining any vague semblance of order.
It’s not normal to have 863 examples of such behaviour, unless you have 863 cats. One cat is not meant to cause this much bother. However, this is Louis Catorze we’re talking about, so I don’t imagine anyone is surprised.
Anyway … Year 11 can be a troublesome bunch, and the graveyard shift with them (last lesson of the day, 15:00 to 16:00) is always a tough gig. It’s been particularly bad since they were told that their exams have been cancelled, yet minimal guidance has been given about exactly what will happen instead. They have taken this to mean it’s party time. Unfortunately I don’t share this view.
During one especially trying lesson last week (the imperfect tense: everyone’s favourite thing), Catorze decided to come and sit on my stomach and chest. Now, we all know that he wants me dead, and that he only has another 8 days to do the deed and have it register as a Covid death, so there is no reason for him to sit on me other than to spite me, or perhaps in the hope that I will suffocate and die. However, due to the unfortunate camera angle and the shadow falling across my body, he wasn’t fully visible to the students on my video lesson. So all they could see was his sticking-up tail sailing past the camera.
This was how the tragic sequence of events unfolded that day:
1. Poker-straight vertical tail sails past, left to right. Students say nothing.
2. Tail sails past, right to left. Students’ eyes are suddenly fixed to the screen, concentrating yet also confused.
3. Tail sails past again, left to right. Now everyone is paying attention.
4. Kid 1: “Miss …?”
5. Kid 2: “Yeah, Miss. What the …?”
6. Catorze settles on my lap/chest and now everyone can see his head. He has only ever sat in this position twice in his whole life, once last year and once in 2014. (The fact that I can remember when is indicative of its rarity.)
7. Me: “Erm, ok, so it seems we’ve got company. Alors, continuons…”
8. Kids start giggling.
9. Cat Daddy looks in (with the kids safely out of sight, bien sûr), sees Catorze on me and guesses from my French conversation that I am mid-lesson. He mouths the words “PUSH HIM OFF!” making appropriate gestures at the same time to be extra helpful.
10. It then dawns on me that he thinks I placed Catorze there on purpose. Oh. Mon. Dieu.
11. Kids giggle some more as I attempt to bluster on. No work whatsoever is done.
12. The end.
The bad news is that we have another five weeks of this until half term, and the kids have learned absolutely sod all French so far. The good news is … well … I’ll get back to you as soon as we have any.