Friday, December 17, 2010

Past pets

For the majority of my life, I lived in apartments. Most of the ones I lived in during my childhood allowed pets but coming from a traditional Korean family, my parents didn't believe that animals should be inside. So while my friends got to go home and play with their kittens or dogs or even fucking guinea pigs, I got to go home to Darkwing Duck and hordes of stuffed animals as poor substitutes for the real thing.
I guess at some point my grandma felt kind of sorry for me, or maybe it was just her greedy insistent ways, but she somehow managed to get two chicks for me from our priest (he raised chickens for fun or something in his backyard). I was ecstatic and as they were tiny tiny tiny, my parents were surprisingly ok with me keeping them in my room in a box under a lamp for warmth. I gave them names, fed them religiously and made sure they had clean water. I thought they would get cold and dressed them up using my mom's expensive silk scarves and of course, they shat all over her scarves. Oops.
Eventually, they started getting big. My grandparents lived about half an hour away and since we went to visit them every weekend, my family came to the conclusion that I can raise the chickens at my grandparent's house since they had a large yard and the potential to fit a chicken coop somewhere. It was ok I guess, after awhile I got annoyed by the shrill peeping noises and they smelled kind of weird and someone told me you could get lice from birds and I was a little wary of my new pets coming too close to me to infest me with their lice. Plus, when i got to visit my chickens at my grandparents' house, we would run around the backyard together and I would push them around in a baby stroller and force them to play house with me. So it worked out, right?
No. One day my grandpa said to me, "Wow, isn't it a nice day? It is so should go for a bike ride or a walk and enjoy the weather!" My tiny 7 year old brain was thinking, "Why yes, it is a glorious day! How simply marvelous! How did I not notice it until now? Fine idea, Grandfather! A walk sounds glorious! Onward ho!"and I went for a supervised walk with my aunt or someone. Coming home, I ran to the backyard to tell my faithful chickens of all the glorious things I saw only to see feathers everywhere and their little heads with their eyes closed on the back patio. My screams could be heard for miles, I'm sure, and I screamed loud enough to scare birds out of the trees.
Lunch: chicken soup. Picture a heartbroken 7 year old sobbing hysterically at the dinner table while her heartless mother plunks down a hot steaming bowl of chicken and rice soup. Fuck you, family.
I didn't have any luck with fish. My uncle bought me a beta fish and it repeatedly tried to commit suicide and I would come home to find it flopping around on the floor. Even when we got a screen for it's bowl, it still managed to try to kill itself. Eventually, it succeeded. I don't think I named it.
I had a hamster. After incessantly whining, crying, pleading and threats of running away unless I finally got a pet with fur, my dad decided hamsters were harmless enough. They weren't villianized as having diseases or carrying the Black Death and to him, hamsters were cute enough. So he took my brother and I to the local pet store and while I picked the cutest and most rambunctious one I could find, my brother picked the biggest and fattest hamster who happened to be sleeping. We brought them home and Surprise! My hamster's a boy and my brother's hamster was a girl and guess who had lots and lots of babies? That's right...Hammie and Harry. I named mine Hammie, so original, I know.
Anyway, we didn't know what to do with them and they kept eating their babies which I found horribly fascinating and eventually, we figured out that we needed to separate the hamsters. Unfortunately, being the cheap asses that my parents were, they refused to buy another cage for Hammie and I was forced to keep him in my aquarium after we gave up on those stupid suicidal fish. Because my hamster liked running, we kept the wheel in his house while Harry slept all damn day and somehow had more babies.
Anyway, long story short, my dad made me keep the hamsters outside on the porch because they were making too much noise and they kept waking him up. Hammie's wheel got stuck on something, so he was able to climb on top of the wheel and make his grand escape into the backyard somewhere. In the morning when I went to feed him, he was long gone and again, the neighborhood got to hear the heartbroken screams and wails of a 9 year old girl whose hamster ran away.


Vi said...

My gosh! I found your post today to be so shockingly sad. I feel like it would've been better to not have any pets at all than to come home to chicken soup. I was heartbroken for you when I read that.

gina said...

I feel you man. I really do.

Cooper said...

Vi, it's ok. Eventually I got over it and I still eat chicken but I don't think I can ever raise them again. Sigh.