Frank the cat caught wind that something was up last Friday morning.
And he bolted, hiding in the depths of my neighbor’s back porch with no way to nab him. Calling didn’t work. Treats didn’t work. I was annoyed . . . I was ready to go and now I just wanted to get on the road, dammit, and not hit any traffic. Then I realized that this particular situation was out of my control. Trying to catch the cat would not work. So, after a few moments of exasperation, I decided to try another approach. His food was packed in the car, and I had no intention of getting it out, so I knew he’d eventually come around. I’d already sublet my bungalow, so now I just sat on my rented couch leisurely reading a magazine that was not mine. On the surface I was patiently waiting, but on the inside, I was definitely tapping my foot in urgency.
I was just about to give up and take a nap. I’d been waiting for almost two hours. I stood surveying my small living room, saying good-bye to all of my things, including a wall of musical instruments. I absently picked up the goat toenail shaker and began to rattle it. I’d forgotten completely about Frank, and was just listening to the hollow sounds of the hooves like heavy rain falling. I’d only been at it for about half a second, when quite suddenly, he came bounding in the door. I had no idea Frank had such an affinity for goat toes!
I popped him in that cardboard kitty carrier and we were off! He was pissed, but I suppose I wouldn’t like being shoved inside a cardboard box either. That’s why I let him out pretty quickly once we were on the road. All my friends warned me that the cat might try to get near my feet while driving, or that he might decide to scratch me, or . . . or . . . but I decided not to worry about any of that shit.
I’ve found that traveling with a cat is not so bad. We hit Friday afternoon gridlock and Frank wrapped himself around my thigh, shoving his head between leg and steering wheel. He wasn’t obstructing my driving, so I let him stay there, because, after all, LA traffic can be scary. Eventually, he buried himself at my feet, like everyone warned he might. I gently kept pushing him away from the foot pedals and he respected the boundary, so I allowed him to stay on the driver’s side floorboard for the next 13 hours. There were absolutely no problems.
Getting in and out of the car was another adventure. I had to get in and out of the car by crawling through the passenger seat. I was slightly worried that the little guy might try to bolt every time I stopped to pee in the middle of the night on various deserted country roads, but he never did. I wanted to stop and admire the stars, but really felt I couldn’t stop because I just felt bad for the little guy who did not have the same bathroom opportunities as I.
I kept picking random music from my CD holder in the dark and somewhere about 100 miles outside of ABQ, between Prince and Tom Waits, Frank the cat decided to come out from underneath my feet. He sat in my lap like a dog and watched the middle of the night fly by like a starry dream, propping himself with his little paws up on the driver’s door, perfectly content.