So we purchased a guinea pig, a cage, and a starter kit with all of the food and accessories we would need to care for this creature. Wonderful. What a fantastic decision. Now all we had to do was take it home…. where was home?? Where were we? Where was the bus stop?? Oh man can you bring a live animal and a giant animal crate on the CTA? How far did we travel? What time was it? Oh my god we must be at least an hour out of the city…

My friend and I had a very inspiring professor when we were in school together. He was a great teacher and a really cool person who always had the most amazing stories from his youth. He claimed that he had such great stories because life was simply more interesting before we all became so reliant on technology. If you went overseas you had to communicate by writing letters. If you wanted to meet up with someone abroad you had to write a letter, show up, and hope for the best. There was no way of knowing if they encountered delays or some emergency. No last minute text to change your plans. When you travelled you had to rely on actual maps. If you got lost you had to talk to other people and ask for directions. And people talked to each other more anyway because nobody had phones to stare down at on long train rides.

This professor, who everyone called P.K., made life without technology sound like magic. He inspired my friend and I to try what we have now dubbed “P.K. Style” outings. To PK, you don’t need any specific plan at all. You just turn off your phones and go exploring. The rule is, you are not allowed to use your phone or tablet or computer of whatever (unless you really get yourself into trouble). It’s a great way to explore Chicago. You do in fact find yourself interacting with more people and discovering new things. It’s always led to interesting experiences for us.

The first time we tried PK-ing, I decided it would be a great idea to get myself a new pet. Clearly I have a problem with last minute animal related decisions… We didn’t know where the nearest pet store was so we wandered into a coffee shop and asked the barista if he knew where we could get our hands on an animal of sorts. He gave us a suggestion and some directions so we hopped on a bus and we were off.

We ended up at a pet store and I wandered around looking at the different kinds of pets. It was here I decided that the best option for me would be a guinea pig. Obviously. My apartment didn’t allow cats or dogs and it’s hard to find bunnies so this is clearly the next animal it the pet totem pole. But none of these guinea pigs at this place were speaking to me if you will… So we decided to try another store.

We got directions and hopped on two more busses heading way outside of the city. We could now see the skyline fading into the distance. We had literally no idea where we were and to this day I could not tell you where we had ended up. If I had to guess, I’d say it was a suburb because I’m fairly confident we were no longer in Cook County.

We walked into a large pet store and they had a particular breed of guinea pig in stock. The crazy haired guinea pigs. That’s not what they are called officially but that is what I call them. These creatures spoke to me. I have a soft spot in my heart for animals with crazy hair because I myself have some pretty crazy hair. The tinest of all the crazy haired guinea pigs absolutely melted my heart. So we purchased a guinea pig, a cage, and a starter kit with all of the food and accessories we would need to care for this creature. We named him Theodore (like the president) Kanelos (After PK) and he was perfect.

Wonderful. What a fantastic decision. Now all we had to do was take it home…. where was home?? Where were we? Where was the bus stop?? Oh man can you bring a live animal and a giant animal crate on the CTA? How far did we travel? What time was it? Oh my god we must be at least an hour out of the city… Ok well clearly the most reasonable thing to do would be to take a cab.

After waiting by the side of the road outside the petstore for 20 minutes without seeing a single taxi we began to worry… and we broke our rule. We were not in any immediate danger but we were in a pickle and we just wanted to call a cab home.. This turned out to be a huge ordeal and about an hour (and 30 pigeon attacks later) we were finally about to get into a cab.

Oh crap can you bring live animals in taxis? I’ll just put it in my purse and we wont say a thing. So for an hour we sat in the back of a cab while I talked to my purse and the driver questioned my psychology.

Then I got home and remembered I had never dicussed the pet thing with either of my roommates. But his cute little face won them over! In part because it took us all a while to realize that guinea pigs can fit an astronomical amount of liquid in their tiny little bodies, and ‘Teddy’ had questionable bladder control.

This is the story of How I ended up with a guinea pig named after my teacher and a US president in my apartment. He still lives with me. He has brought me such joy… Some know me as ‘the guinea pig lady’ because I carried him around in a small purse for an entire summer. The best question people ask when you carry a piggy purse is, “What kind of dog is that?” We had many picnics and enjoyed many outdoor dining patios and Chicago festivals together. It’s totally cool he had a leash. And a tuxedo because he likes to keep it classy. He’s a pretty fabulous urban piggie.

Soon I will share about the time PK-ing landed me with baby bunnies in my apartment… I know everyone is feeling bad for my roommates considering this this one of three times I have brought home pets with absolutely no discussion beforehand.

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