Most of what I do in Romania is converse, and I am dutifully reporting on it embellished with the wit of a distant staircase. It is hard for me to model to myself, how an entire civilization may be run when everybody is drinking coffee and fresh de portocale and chatting in cafes all day long, but Romania and many other European countries are that advanced. To American eyes it looks like the Krell machines. Even when you go to job sites, the work is being accomplished by sleight of hand. Andrei’s mother, I know, works very very hard, but she never lets you see it. Maybe it’s just not cool to look busy. Such the opposite of Office Space.

One touristy thing I did in Iasi was to visit an unauthorized garden of modern sculpture made during the Ceausescu years, way out in the woods. They aren’t lurid or anything. The artists wanted to avoid the permit process. It isn’t flooded with tourists and I think I will leave it that way by not saying where it is. You get to the garden via a long walk. It looks like an abandoned version of the Djerassi estate. It’s another instance of ruins, although the pieces aren’t ruined. There is at least an old ruined monastery on the site, with an old ruined bell. The clapper has been replaced by a can. It’s hanging from a tree.

After sipping orange juice for four days at the handiest cafes in Iasi, I was deposited with 90 seconds to spare onto the afternoon train to Bucharest. It wasn’t intended to be that close a cut.

At noon Andrei and Nikos decided we would go for coffee and orange juice with Stef and Butza. Like we do every day.

We were sitting on the patio in front of Andrei’s family house.

All morning long we had been hearing this cat going “mew, mew mew” from down in the street. I was thinking, poor thing, it’s probably lost its mom or something.

So we got in the car and started driving to “Magic Pizza” by Stef and Butza’s work.

And we heard the cat. Nobody wanted to believe his ears but after about 800 meters we looked at each other because the cat was IN THE CAR somewhere.

Andrei stopped directly in the middle of the street, put on his flashers. We all got out and started looking under the hood. It’s hard to tell where a sound is coming from in a car.

Andrei was all, I don’t want to burn it up in my engine, we have to get it out, I am going to go to a car shop.

So he drove very slowly and stopping a few times to over to “Auto Adria” and told the guys his story. They were laughing at him I think, but at the same time, they could hear it going “MEOW MEOW” in the car, and even if you are all macho about the fate of small animals and have large paintings of seal hunts on your wall and yell at gypsy children, the fact is, if you do roast a kitten in the engine, you’re then going to have a repulsive barbecue hair smell, it is a problem that has to be fixed so they rolled the car over the pit and three guys got under and started taking the car apart from underneath.

They did get the cat out. It was a little gray kitten with blue eyes, all covered with dust. I guessed it to be about 5 weeks old, counting for some stunted growth.

Nikos got in the back seat holding the kitten who promptly escaped and crawled under the gas pedal into the engine.

Meanwhile, Stef and Butza showed up with a container of milk for the kitten. They were about to open it but the kitten was at that point hiding in the engine so I said, “Don’t open the milk until you have the kitten,” which Stef for some reason thought was the funniest thing he ever heard and talked the rest of the time how it was going to be his new watchword. Maybe it reads better in Romanian.

The cat was extracted again and I held it by the neck this time. Andrei gave it some milk. It was starving. It was also old enough to know how to drink milk from a dish, which is one problem less.

Andrei decided it had crawled in at Radu’s apartment block so he went there and found some boy who said that it was one of a band of wild cats that lived under the apartment so Andrei left it there with the milk and the kitten tried to follow him back.

I will bet that the next time Andrei parks there, the kitten is going to get in his car again, or try to make friends. Nikos wants to keep him. He is a wild animal. He was biting me, the kitten I mean. His teeth are too small to go through skin but he doesn’t have any human society manners. Cute little thing though.

I had time for one glass of juice at Magic Pizza which I drank in 90 seconds and then we left for the station. Andrei went down two one way streets wrong. If we had been stopped I would have missed the train.

There was a crazy guy in my compartment 80 years old talked non stop, only every 2 minutes this poor old lady next to me who nominated herself to be Social said “Da, da, da” the men just buried their heads in the newspaper.

The newspaper said that Putin apologized for the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, 70 years too late.

I stayed one night in Bucharest at Coco’s Hotel. The next day I had lunch with my friend Alex. Also joining us, the same as last year, were Ben and Poli Timis, the parents of a fellow who worked at Opcode. What had changed since the previous year, was that their son had died, at a terribly young age. It was not a total party lunch.