1. i dogsat Gemma, my hippy flatmate’s irritatingly hyperactive dog, last weekend, the hippy being at a hippy party in Stuttgart. Dog-owners will attest to the deranged canine frenzy so easily induced by saying “walkies!” or donning one’s boots or coat. A normal dog, thus excited, will pant, yap, gambol, bounce uncontrollably about, spinning and wheeling and all sorts; the beast will bound up and try to lick your face; it will fall over, scrabble to its paws and bounce about with renewed ferocity, yapping in truly demented glee and expectation; it will be a disgrace to all serious (i.e. abnormal) dogs. But normal dogs are only like this for about 5 minutes a day, when they see a walk is on offer.

Gemma is like this all the time. Her usual pace is a desperate lunatic run, peering at me over her shoulder, so she can then crash into my wine bottles, knocking them all over my floor as she wheels and cavorts and gambols and pants, because, after all, i am moving from one side of my room to the other, and so some kind of enthusiasm is in order. The only way to calm her is to become totally motionless, ignoring her whines and pleading looks; and even then, peace is broken as soon as one moves – then, once again cue the wheeling and bounding and panting.

My hippy flatmate has clearly corrupted her with sweets and what not – she refused to eat her boring dry food, and instead stole my stollen. i left the stollen on my sofa, erroneously supposing this to be a Gemma-free zone. i returned from the kitchen to find her sitting at attention, staring at my stollen, wagging her tail and shooting earnest glances in my direction; she then leapt onto my sofa and licked the stollen, then looked at me as if to say “can I eat this? after all, you left it lying about for me!” i went over and found she had already eaten half of it, presumably while i was in the kitchen.

“You little bitch”, i said, impressed. “You ate what you could while my back was turned, then pretended to ask for permission.”

Truly she is a hippy dog.

2. i went to a good production of Wagner’s Der Fliegende Holländer on Saturday. 35 Euros for a 2nd row ticket, with some damn fine looking German girls belting out the Wagner in their skimpy Wagner dresses. However, this meant i couldn’t give Gemma her evening walk. The hippy had apparently intended to give the flat keys to another hippy, so Hippy 2 could take Gemma for a walk while i was at the opera. Hippy 1 rang me as i was walking the stollen-thieving beast in the early evening, to tell me he had given the wrong keys to Hippy 2 – only the letterbox key, because hippies don’t really distinguish between one key and another. Hippy 1 asked if i could leave my flat keys in the letterbox, so Hippy 2 could use them, replacing them post-walk, so they would be waiting for me on my return. i needed only take my letterbox key.

Being a natural pedant i asked for Hippy 2’s phone number, in case he lost the keys, then decided i didn’t need it, that no one could be so stupid and incompetent as to lose a set of keys so easily. i dropped my keys off in the letterbox, went to the opera, went for drinks with the rock star teacher at our school (he was actually in some cult rock band, in America), then returned to my flat after midnight.

i opened the letterbox.

There were keys in the letterbox.

But they were not my keys.

They were totally different keys. They were the wrong keys. They did not open the flat. Perhaps they opened another flat, in another city.

i rang Hippy 1 – no answer. i rang David and Morgana, assuming i would have to sleep on someone’s sofa – no answer. i waxed wroth. i texted Hippy 1. Luckily, he wasn’t totally stoned, and he rang me back. i explained the situation, calmly, growing increasingly amused as the temperature fell and the night deepened and everyone except me was safely in bed, because they hadn’t trusted a hippy.

Finally, Hippy 2 came over to the flat with my keys, laughingly apologetic for having mistaken one set of keys for another; for indeed, it was matter for mirth. i entered the flat, batted away Gemma’s deranged attentions, and tried to sleep, unsuccessfully.

3. From the above, i conclude that one should never share a flat with a hippy. i am divided between murder and observation. The former affords raw emotional satisfaction, the latter useful insights and anecdotes, for blogging and some hypothetical future novel. The novel will be called Hippy Scum and feature a photo of my hippy flatmate, in his full hippy regalia. Here he is, clad as an emo, on his way to an emo party:

This is not the kind of person to whom one should entrust one’s keys.

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