Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cats, calves, and Christmas

(At least the cats emerge once in awhile; the tree never comes up from the subway.)

The preponderance of my nerves has officially been wracked by the cats. It's been ten days now, and I've been mulling over my options, as the boys were clearly not settling in and their yowling and crying was driving me crazier and waking me at night. Tiki (the orange guy) is still so scared that he almost never comes out from under the couch unless I'm gone or asleep. Tug is less shy and has let me pick him up, but never purred or seemed affectionate and spent a lot of time with his brother subdavenportally.

The mullables were fourfold: keep the cats and tough it out, trade Tiki for the boys' other brother, as suggested by the cat ladies, return Tiki and keep Tug, or return them both. (A reminder: back on the streets is a bad, bad place for cats in Korea.)

But then Tuesday night we had a bit of a breakthrough: I had found some Jinny brand cat treats from Thailand ("Great Taste for Great Happiness!") at Home Plus; I held Tug on my lap and scattered the treats on the computer desk and he went nuts for them. When I put him down he kept jumping up on the desk and walking across my keyboard (completely ignoring the mouse!) to look for more. Then he purred, loudly and beautifully, and kept leaning his head back into my hand and closing his eyes in bliss. Also, eventually Tiki came out from under and within a foot of where I sat on the floor to get his Jinny fix. (Tug's also a furry little stoner; I found catnip, too.)

So I'm keeping them. We'll work it out.

Meanwhile, I've enthusiastically taken up running again, now that I've found a good venue. For the last couple of days, my calves have been so tight I walk like Grandpa Amos (ask your own grandpa for an explanation of the analogy, kids), but still it feels good. My new bestest possession, an iPod Shuffle, goes with me, and Pink and David Bowie and Bon Jovi really do make the miles (or in my case, the yards) fly by.

On Saturday, running down by the river, I inadvertently became a scofflaw on my second continent, as I ran across the wood-planked footbridge over the river only to find a booth with a collector at the other end; the guy was holding his hand out and saying something gruffly, but, not having any money on me, I had to ignore him, choose to be deafened by the iPod, and just keep running. Can't hear ya, Mac: they're paving Paradise and putting up a parking lot. (They are, too, in Daegu, every minute of every day.)

I also stumbled upon the end of a marathon; at least I think it was a marathon, as the electronic clock was reading two hours, thirty-nine minutes; it may have been a 10K for people as fast as I.

It's getting Yulesque here; it reminds me of the Christmases of my childhood (Yules of Yore?), when the retail festivities were more restrained, before Wal-Mart started putting up the plastic trees as they took down the Valentine's Day stuff. There are decorations in the underground shopping areas and the department stores, and displays of artificial trees and their trimmings for sale in all the stores. The school has put up an artificial tree with dozens of little slips for the students to hang on it for the teachers. Unfortunately, they all write their greetings in Korean, but I'm hoping they're saying something nice.

Puss on Earth, everyone.

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