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.

Je me reposais, tu te reposais, il/elle se reposait …

26 thoughts on “L’imparfait

  1. I don’t have to do video calls or teaching (thank God ) but at least one cat parks on my forearm and, after an hour or so, my fingers are numb So I can sympathize but it doesn’t involve giggling kids. Does “Year 11” mean eleven year olds (about sixth grade age), or the equivalent of our junior year of high school, which is “eleventh grade,”

    The tail would be handy if you were instructing instrumental music,

    Liked by 2 people

        1. Do you have an iPhone? Just press and hold the e key and you’ll have è, é, ê and all the rest pop up.


  2. I offer a repast of “Leominster Gold” catnip, and set up the iPad with Youtube’s cat TV. But after a while Xenia goes to the stairwell to sing arias. She knows the the stairwell amplifies the sound.
    It’s their world and we only live in it…you have my sympathy!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I feel your pain. Chris likes to get on my lap during my German class on Zoom. Once on my lap, he has to claw at my chest in an attempt to reach my face so he can claw at my face. If I put him down, he claws at and bites my legs until I pick him up again. I can’t lock him out because my computer is in the same room as the litter boxes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha! What have the students said about it? Likewise, I can’t lock Catorze out because then he screams and that’s worse.


  4. MOL! Catorze you’ve got some smooth moves but might I suggest a new one that was extremely popular during one of The Human’s video conferences with a new client.

    Sashay back and forth and make sure you hit the keyboard a few time. If all goes well you will disrupt the connection and the Human will have to call back.

    Once she’s back online, wait a while (to give her a sense of false security) and then leap up on the desk, proudly displaying your derriere. This is most effective if you back up close to the screen.

    Purrs & Head Bonks,k

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He does enjoy it when visitors come, so you could be right. He might be missing them. And he likes men, and my male students outnumber the female ones, so I think he likes their voices. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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