Carrie bounced into Costamuchamoulah must-seen cafe and
grabbed a tabloid from the rack. I was on my tablet and so we sat
together, but apart, in a new social category, that isn’t really social.
It is incredibly irritating to have things read out to you when you are
immersed in some text of your own, as The Husband is wont to imply
when I enthusiastically regale him with some witty Proustian quote
when he is trying to read the FT in bed. I really wish he wouldn’t read it
in the bedroom as newsprint and The White Stuff linen don’t mix. Mind
you, who am I criticising for not mixing?!
Ha! This is all about a woman who got slothified, Carrie whooped.
Mmm, I feebly back-channelled, not encouraging her too much, but
being sucked into a conversational Charybdis. Do you mean sloshed?
No, Carrie laughed. A woman gave sanctuary, and still does,
presumably, to hundreds of sloths in Paramaribo, wherever that is.
Two or three-toed? I asked, interest picking up.
Does it matter? Both, I think. She is overwhelmed and so tired that she
doesn’t want to get up in the morning.
Deadly sin, that. I observed. Sloth. Probably in that book I’ve just been
The Traveller’s Guide to Hell – Don’t Leave this World without it, by Dana
Facaros and Michael Pauls. It seems to be a kind of Lonely Planet for
sinners. Or a dumbed down Inferno…
Anyway, Carrie interrupted, I can relate to a house being filled with creatures
who sleep, on average 9.6 hours, or 16 in captivity and who hang around, or
hang out, in my kitchen. I’d probably be sheltering 200 of them too if I went
out with Gyles and Tiger-Lily sneaked her friends round. The females are
They call out for attention, even when they are not on heat. They browse,
rather than eating regular meals, regurgitate their food and have an obsession
I typed ‘Sloth‘ into Google. Aquinas said sloth is an avoidance
of physical or spiritual work, so that ties in with what you’re
Then I looked at wildlife sites and came across David Attenborough
outlining how sloths are ‘mobile compost heaps‘ who grow organisms
and who defecate once a week.
That’s more like the boyfriends, Carrie quipped. Monique Pool- I’ve found the
name of the woman-says the toilet habits makes them ideal house guests,
Carrie added. I know I hate tradesmen and strangers pooing in my house.
Sloths could be preferable. But maybe they are the same genus.
Or anus, I giggled. She ignored me.
I’ve noticed Tiger’s friends, though leaf-eaters, don’t eat enough fibre,
so at least constipation is a bit of a bonus.
Not for them, I disagreed, but too much information.
The woman goes on to say that what makes her furry guests so attractive is
the permanent smile on their faces, Carrie continued. But most of my
week-enders have a sullen look about them and get their emotional claws out
at the slightest provocation.
Emotional apathy. Carelessness in the performance of their obligations, I
underlined, reading more Aquinas, but still listening..
Actually, sloths are solitary if they have the choice, Carrie read on. Tiger,
I’d say, is happier when she is just getting down to some revision on her own.
She’s not really a team player and I haven’t seen a smile on her face for some
I’ve got a vintage Gordon the Gopher, I suddenly remembered. I’ll bring it
round and give it to her as a mascot for her exams. Don’t worry, I’ll have it
steam- cleaned first, in case of any organisms. It might cheer her up. Failing
that, I’ll get her The Traveller’s Guide to Hell.
I’m going to get that anyway, Carrie said. Sounds like every mother can
relate to it, because, in spite of all our good intentions, we seem to be deemed
to have paved the way to our progeny’s final destinations.
Look at this. I showed her a cutesy photograph of a baby sloth. And, sure
enough, it brought a smile to her face. Many of God’s creatures are angels
in disguise, or are Heavenly harbingers, poets, like Vergil, who lead us out
of the gloom. Or gophers who motivate us or, in soft toy version, relieve
stress and help us to love the other and to laugh at ourselves.