Who is Chuck and why does he like to travel?
I was born to be a writer and when I wrote my novel Wild Point Island, Chuck, my orange and white recently rescued feral tabby, got it in his head that he wanted to travel to the island and see the place for himself. Well, of course, Wild Point Island, can only be seen by revenants (you'll have to read the book to find out who they are) and Chuck is no revenant so instead, we concocted a plan to take Chuck with us--my husband and I--when we travel around the world, which we do frequently. Not an easy task. First, we have to deflate the poor kid of all air, stuff him in my carry-on bag, remember to bring my portable pump, and when we arrive, we pump him back up. Ouch. But he's used to it by now and given the choice to either stay home in his comfy cat bed or get deflated, he pulls out his passport, ready to travel, every time.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Chuck Gets Culture - He Sees the Mona Lisa
Chuck has a reputation to uphold. On safari, he is a tough cat. And he likes to pretend he isn’t afraid of anything. Chuck has faced the hyena and the lion, the elephant and the giraffe, and although he may snuggle down a bit farther into my shoulder bag, he’s one fearless little soul.
But I wanted Chuck to be well-rounded.
So when we went to France, I thought it was time that Chuck got some culture. I had an idea. In Paris, Bob and I decided to spend half a day at the Louvre, and we made a list of what we wanted to see there. Of course, we didn’t mention this to Chuck. He doesn’t much care for statues and paintings and such. He only agreed to come to France because he wanted to see the Eiffel Tower, and he wanted to taste the mussels, which he’d heard from some of his cat friends were delicious.
Getting Chuck into the Louvre would not be easy. The museum is crowded and has high security. And Chuck is smart and exceedingly observant. If we tried to sneak him in, he would realize what we were doing.
We had to trick him.
Our plan was simple. We told him he couldn’t go. We told him we didn’t think he was old enough or mature enough to see the Mona Lisa.
In the hotel, he crinkled his nose at us. “Who’s that?”
We told him about the painting. Not everything. Chuck has a limited attention span. Only the most salient details--that it was the most famous painting in the world, painted by Leonardo da Vinci, 500 years old, and now behind bullet-proof glass. And then we told him about her eyes, how they seemed to follow you wherever you were in the room.
That did it. Chuck was in. He wanted to see Mona Lisa’s eyes.
The next day we bought the tickets. Chuck was stuffed into my coat because I couldn’t bring a backpack into the museum. We headed straight for the painting.
It wasn’t easy. Hundreds of tourists milled about in the tiny space where the painting was hung. And the worst part was--the painting was on a wall far away from where you were supposed to stand, behind a rope, and it was small.
For such a famous painting, it should have been bigger.
First, Chuck had trouble seeing the painting because people rudely stood in front of us. Then he wanted to move along the rope and have her watch him with her eyes, but you couldn’t stand still, you had to continue to move down the line.
But I could tell he was impressed.
For one moment, he purred, which is Chuck’s way of showing total contentment.
As we were leaving the Louvre, I had to ask him, “Well, what did you think? Was it worth it?”
He licked his paw, then gave me a snarky half smile. “I supposed so, but can we go see the Eiffel Tower?”