The Antipreneur

I thought of this snazzy little title on the way to the vets, with Winnie. In fact, when approaching an awkward mini-roundabout. That beastly little roundabout is particularly good for popping blog post titles into one’s head, I’ve noticed. No wonder cars always seem to be having collisions there.

Money or the lack of it always crosses my mind (multiple times) on the way to the vets, with a cat. But today being the Sabbath it was a locum, and he mightily impressed me by not extracting money from me when he undoubtedly could have, since having nineteen cats (as he could see from his computer screen) tends to give the game away – that you will do anything for a sick or suffering moggie, even if it involves remortgaging or maxing out the plastic.

But he spent a long time making a gentle fuss of poor Winnie and listening to her alarming breathing, and then told me it was a difficult one. He said he asked himself, if this was his own cat, or a human being, would he put them through an anaesthetic, an x-ray, a battery of blood tests, to find out what was wrong. Long experience has equipped me with a mental calculator for veterinary investigations. You’re looking at hundreds, I thought. Hundreds and hundreds… in fact maybe a thousand… Simultaneously trying to recall the PIN for my credit card – the one I swore I would never again buy anything on.

There is some sort of process going on inside Winnie, he said, but without the investigations it is hard to guess. I can tell by the flecks in her eyes, he said, that she is maybe fourteen or fifteen years old (this is news to me, as she was a stray, but I am not surprised). Winnie is an old lady. As long as she is eating and drinking, and seems to be happy, I think it might be better just to watch her, and wait. Bring her back to me when the time is right.

And with that he restored my faith in human nature. I hope he won’t get into trouble for not selling anything this rainy sabbath. I seemed to be their only customer this morning, so his lack of financial killer instinct will be pretty obvious when they come to do the till at lunchtime. I hope poor Winnie’s “time” will not come for a while yet, but when it does I will know, because he also restored my confidence in myself, my own instincts.

As for Anti-preneur – I guess that is I what I must be. At intervals I research into ways of supplementing the meagre income; preferably very, very quickly; without a huge outlay for three years of evening classes in upholstery, or the purchase of a stack of books on website design. Apparently website design is now becoming a bit “niche” as an income-generator, since the technology for building one’s own website is nowadays available to all online. I throw out that hint in case any of you are also making long lists of How To Make Money.

Truth is, I just haven’t got the mindset. I need money but I am not interested in it. I need money but I am not terribly willing to do – or terribly capable of doing – any of the things that are necessary to get it. I found a very useful article in The Guardian – Fifty side businesses to set up from home.

What is a side business, I wonder. I suppose if you are making oodles in the City, a side business would be something you did in your back bedroom, after spending three hours commuting home on a tightly-packed train. I have never had a front business, let alone a side one.

I run through the list, listlessly, trying to convince myself that I could manage one, or any of them:

Antiques dealing – what do they think I am going to purchase the antiques with? (Sigh!) And would I know an antique if I saw one? (Sigh!)
Babysitting. No one would let a childless old baggage like me near their children. And I don’t even much like children. I would be like Nanny McPhee… without the magic.
Bed and Breakfast, it says. I don’t want another person under my roof – unless they are my sister, for a week, in January – and anyway, I would have to hoover, relentlessly. And what about the nineteen cats?
Biscuit-making – oven broken
Cake-making – ditto
Car boot sales (Sigh!)
Car cleaning/valeting (Sighhhh!)
Census distributor – not till 2022, and I have a feeling I somewhat failed to impress at that the time before last…
Computer repairer/trouble-shooter – if only I could, I could save myself hundreds of pounds in visits from Scary Computer Man…
Become a DJ – seriously?
Be a doula – OMG, no….

Every time I think about making money my subconscious, which utterly refuses to stick to the point in any situation, however dire – in fact the direr the situation the more it is tempted to stray from/misremember any conceivable point – reminds me, visually and facetiously, that I need only to purchase a Red Hat and walk up and down the High Street murmuring… whatever ladies in Red Hats are supposed to murmur… Hello sailor! Got a light, dearie? Maybe ladies in Red Hats did murmur that sort of thing in the days when there were plenty of sailors and everybody used to smoke. Maybe. I doubt if they wear Red Hats nowadays, and suspect that whatever they now murmur to passing gentlemen, it is  direct, and graphic.

Deceased Devon Aunt once informed me that if I bought a bottle of Devon Violets perfume I would smell like a Lady of The Brook (or, as her Deceased Brother – my Father – would more likely have put it – like a Whore’s Handbag). Perhaps I should look on Amazon to see if one can still purchase little bottles of Devon Violets perfume – or red hats for that matter – and if so set forth to supplement my pension in this time-honoured way.

If only I wasn’t so old. And if only I could bear the thought…

So I suppose I will just have to write the novel. But that will take years. And what sort of novel. And whatever sort of novel, nobody is likely to publish it. And…

(Sigh!)

12 thoughts on “The Antipreneur

  1. You could try going at it from the other end. Pray for income and see how God brings it in by ways you never even thought of – works for me. Perhaps you could be a “cat sitter” taking in much beloved pets while the owners are on holiday etc. You certainly have the credentials for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Should you think again about the Red Hat scenario…be assured that there is a market, or there was in the French village in which we lived.
    Three generations of Red Hat ladies were based in the bar….granny even boasted elasticated stockings….and all seemed to attract custom.

    I second the cat sitting, though whether the nineteen would go along with it might be another question.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, that sounds like such a good short story in the making! And elastic stockings… but how would you ever get out of them, when they’re impossible to get on? Maybe you’d just leave them on. Permanently. Cat sitting, I think maybe only in other people’s houses as the Nineteen do not take kindly to Additions, even temporary ones. You can understand it…

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  3. You can have no idea how that resonated with me! Having made the decision to retire from what I do at the end of next month, even though that only brought in a tiny amount of money, I should really be hunting down something else part-time – or as a ‘side business!’. But it seems very hard to summon the enthusiasm. As for making money from the novel, I’ve made about a day’s wages from it.

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    1. Oh, I’m so pleased not to be the only one. Everybody else, if the internet is to be believed, seems brim full of energy, enthusiasm and inspirational ideas. (I hate them.) I must say, making money from novels seems to be for the admirable and lucky few – the ones you hear about. I am now trying prayer, as suggested by another reader, but am haunted by the thought of all those starving millions and victims of terrible cruelty and injustice who must have prayed too, to no effect. If God could ignore them, why would he waste a passing thought on some old biddy with a house full of strays? (No doubt someone will tell me, shortly). Oh, woe… and thrice woe…

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      1. Unfortunately, this energy seems to have dissipated as I’ve grown older. Twenty years ago I had plans to start my own company, but that came to nothing for various reasons. I couldn’t do it now, especially as I just need to get through to pension age in a couple of years. If I loved money more, I’m sure I’d make the effort, but I’m content to just survive, really.

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