Monday, July 31, 2006

Rabbits on the Road

Things are improving around here, at least in some respects.
First off, global warming has taken a break in the immediate neighborhood and we are back to something like the usual cool summer temperatures. This puts everyone in a better mood, although I suppose if one drives over the hill it's still possible to find 114-degree heat (I have forgotten which cities reported that recently, but I was astonished by it... isn't that more appropriate to Death Valley?).
Yesterday was not, apparently, a good day for me to work on computers, as almost everything I attempted refused to work. As in, plug in an external drive and nothing will read it. Try to run Norton Ghost and get nothing but error messages. Try to teach John to use Skype and find that Skype doesn't believe I have a user name. Well, after I had spent most of the day dealing with my own computers' refusal to do anything, you can imagine it was a relief to get a call from John suggesting we go to a concert of Renaissance music. I immediately gave up on the computer (other than, some hours later, making the Skype attempt) and decided it was time to take the rabbits for a ride since there was not much time before I was due in San Francisco.
Why would I take the rabbits for a ride?
As with cats or dogs, getting an existing rabbit to accept a new one is often something of a struggle. The otherwise amiable Calypso Spots has been disinclined to put up with Cami. The fur has flown, although more through shedding than through serious battle.
Over lunch last week, Dirk told me that when he and Whitney got a new cat, they had to go through all kinds of things involving scent and territory. One of the most highly recommended ways of getting two rabbits to cooperate is to put them in the car and go for a drive. The average rabbit dislikes travel, and finds the noise, vibration, and uncertain footing too unsettling for anything but hunkering down and waiting. Fighting in the car (at least once the engine is running) is not too likely. A nip or two, a little shoving, perhaps, but nothing too troublesome.
While I would not like to describe either Ms. Spots or Cami as "the average rabbit," in this respect they are quite typical. They hate going anywhere in the car. And so, yesterday afternoon, they grudgingly huddled together head to tail for an entire stop-and-go bumpy trip to the Costco gas station and back. While the total journey cannot have been above 3 miles, traffic ensured that the project took a good half an hour. Thus, a trip that my father and I would normally have found utterly obnoxious became dual-purpose and all the otherwise irritating aspects were put to good use.
And, when I returned from San Francisco this afternoon, my parents were able to tell me that there had been no signs of hostility since the drive, but only some inquisitive nose-touching through the wire. We took the spotted pair on another Costco excursion today (my mother wanted to drop off film of their adventures) and this time they mostly sat head to head in a friendly looking manner. We think they will soon be cured of their territorial unfriendliness and can be let roam the rabbit-proofed areas of the house at will.
Maybe Ms. Spots will even consent to remember her litterbox skills, which she ostentatiously abandoned as soon as Cami entered the house.
The concert, incidentally, was quite agreeable. While the ensemble is an amateur one, the choice of pieces was interesting, we liked the alternation between vocal and instrumental works, and the featured lutanist was very good. (As a former aspiring lutanist, I particularly enjoyed his numbers, especially as lute concerts are not all that frequent.)

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