Monday, August 10, 2009

Spiraling down

This is not how I wanted the end of my tenure in Daegu to go. I had all these plans to see people and do things I haven't gotten around to doing. Instead, I can't pull myself out of the funk over Tiki. It doesn't help that I wake very early every day (sometimes awakened by Tug) and can't go back to sleep. The night I saw him, I couldn't get him, and the "cat detective" the ladies brought down from Seoul blamed me for driving him off. He's probably right.

Unless Tiki comes back (increasingly unlikely, as he hasn't eaten any food I've put out for the last three days), my best intentions have only resulted in misery for him. He was better off before I got him; he was living on the street, but he was fed regularly and he was with his two brothers. He is the most timid cat I've ever known, but he won me over by being so affectionate, funny, and playful. He's certainly the only cat I ever had who's played fetch. If he doesn't come back, it will never be all right.

Meanwhile, Tug has no life at all, alone almost all day with nothing to do. He demands attention about two minutes a day and otherwise lies around.

And I find myself just kind of spiraling down to the end of my stay; I'm moving in twelve days, I'm tied up emotionally and temporally with Tiki (I try not to be away a lot in the evening because that's when he'll be moving around), and the weather is often so gray and humid, that I don't feel much like doing anything. Obviously, I'm not as detached and enlightened as I'd believed.

Meanwhile, I've found out that my next apartment is not a largish place in an Officetel (modern office/apartment building) with all the other teachers, but a one-bedroom studio off on its own. But that pales in importance compared to Tiki, who is lost for good if he doesn't let himself be caught in the next twelve days.

This is the summer of my discontent.


Gill_Ruth said...

Hello Stephen
I’m really sorry about Tiki and for your unhappiness. There could never be a good time for something like this – but some times are perhaps worse than others. Being the eternal optimist, I will keep hoping that you and Tiki are reunited before you leave Daegu.

I can see how it might seem so to you at the moment because you’re so upset, but it would be wrong to blame yourself. Tiki could not have been better off living on the street, his life would have been in all probability even shorter, and certainly much less happy and comfortable. If he gave you and Tug all that affection and companionship, think also of what you have been able to give back to him. Sometimes dreadful things happen, and it isn’t anyone’s fault.

Detachment works very well in principle, harder to put into practice in my experience. And in any case, I don’t believe that it means we aren’t meant to care, to grieve or feel pain when something goes wrong. It’s just a way to remind yourself to keep things in perspective.

We lived in Iran when I was younger so I know what life is like for animals in some countries, and how cruel people can be. My sisters and I rescued countless cats and dogs, most of whom remained mostly feral and didn’t live the long happy lives we would have liked to give them. But we did what we could and most of all we did what we thought was right – which ultimately is exactly what you did. You did the right thing, you have given Tiki and Tug a loving home.
With best wishes, Gill

Stephen J said...

Dear Gill,

What an incredibly kind and graceful note. It means a great deal to me. Thank you.


Gill_Ruth said...

I'm glad I managed to "say it right" for once then.
Best wishes, Gill