Monday, December 10, 2012

Naneun nangman gangaji

To the risk of infuriating many friends, I must confess I'm rather a "dog" than a "cat" kind of guy. I do like both, and had a purr-fect fit with many felines, but I enjoy much richer conversations with members of the canine family.

I grew up with a peaceful dog who barked only in case of clear and immediate danger - typically, when I played music, or when gangs of cats squared off at our place (Sharks from the South, Jets from the North). But that was in Paris, and here in Seoul, even if I don't have pets, I clearly live on cat territory.

In our neighborhood, the capo de tutti gati is a grey male, or rather the orange female who delivers every six month or so a couple of utterly cute kittens donning coats matching exactly the same grey or orange. This mob owned the place before we did, and they've made it clear to everyone ever since we moved in: each time new faces come to visit us, they pass by just to check them out, and to let themselves be noticed.

Each attempt of insubordination is followed by displays of power so spectacular that I sometimes provoke them just for fun. For instance, when I look at the cat the wrong way as it passes by the window, it will quietly stop, lazily stretch its body, ostentatiously lick its armpits and genitals, re-stretch in a jaw-breaking yawn, and before resuming its walk stare at me for a whole minute with medieval murder in its eyes. And the next day, if I'm not here when it passes by, it calls me so that I don't miss the show.

If these scavengers rule over the neighborhood, they can't expect food from us: I don't collaborate with the Occupant. Okaaay... last summer, I did leave some water for their meltingly cute kittens to lap, but not doing so would have been an outright crime against felinity. And yes, I did rescue an orange kid a couple of times but hey, when they Puss-in-boots-eye you up, you are the one begging for mercy.

So just like I pretend not to collaborate, I pretend to resist when they cross the line a triffle too far. For instance, I let them patrol at a safe distance, and even train their kids around when they're old enough to tour their kingdom, but I barked them out of their project of building a new home on our ground.

Not much of a sabotage, I know, but we dogs have to maintain some boundaries if we don't want to lose face.

Seoul Village 2012
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