Editor’s Note: In an effort to keep Quirk E. Cat from stretching on our keyboards, we have assigned him to Advice Column duty. We apologize in advance.
Dear Quirk E. Cat,
My partner’s parents are coming into town next month to visit and while I love them – I really do! – I don’t think I can spend every waking hour with them for a week. I want them to feel like their trip is worthwhile, but I also need to protect my “me time.” They love to talk for long stretches of time, though, and don’t often notice when I’m a merely a silent contributor to the conversation. Any advice on sneaking in reading time when my not-quite-in-laws start their diatribe on the wonderful cheese they ate while they were in France?
I feel your pain. First of all, who wants to hang out with cats that won’t stop talking about cheese? We all know that cheese is a mouse’s game. There’s nothing worse than acting like a mouse, am I right. So here’s what you’re going to do: meet your partner’s parents at the airport and ever so sweetly suggest that you all go to the new fromagerie in town. When they’re not looking, put their cheese under a mousetrap. Wham! Their paws will get stuck and you’ll have a few minutes of reading time while they figure out how to get themselves free.
Everyone stand completely still! I think I hear my boss again.
Okay, okay. So, once again I’ve been chastised for writing for the wrong audience. You’ve got to be kitten me, Madam Editor. So apparently humans eat cheese like it’s no big deal. That definitely makes this a more difficult question to answer.
Here’s my advice, fur real this time: You can definitely try to read under the table at dinner. From what you write, it seems like they won’t even notice. But is that really going to strengthen your relationship with your partner’s parents? If it were me – and I was a human who cared about that sort of thing – I’d engage them in conversation about something that you and I both love: books. The Pew Research Center recently came out with a study that found that 73% of Americans read a book in the last twelve months. Seventy-three percent! With those numbers, it’s extremely likely that your partner’s parents have read a book this year. Talk to them about it! What did they like? What didn’t they like? What do they wish was a series instead of a stand-alone novel? Pretty soon they’ll be calling you up asking for book recommendations and your partner’s going to start wondering who gets custody of your parents if you two ever break up and you’ll be counting down to their next visit. It’s a win-win-win all around.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a lot of work to do. **Furrrriously replaces all mentions of “cat” in future columns.**
Quirk E. Human – I mean Cat!