Saturday, May 8, 2010


There are times when even the simplest task gets weighed down by unexpected complexity.

I usually am the one who picks up the girls from Not Bad President Elementary in the afternoons. My schedule is considerably more flexible (and less lucrative) than Kim's, for one thing, and for another I really do enjoy seeing them come out of school and asking them how their days went. And if a small subsection of the other parents who also pick up their children at NBPE would only consent to get some driver training on the etiquette of waiting in a "swoop and scoop" sort of line (or agree that their vehicles should be taken to the dump and compacted into end tables, possibly with them still inside), then there would be no worries at all.

This semester I am on campus on Mondays and Wednesdays for my one face-to-face class, which means that most of the time I am coming to NBPE from home on the other three days. And Thursday was one of those days - I had gone out to run some errands that afternoon, and when I got back home I figured there was no need to pull the car into the garage since a) I would be leaving shortly anyway, and b) Kim would still be at work and would not need to get past my car if I just left it in the driveway.

It was also a fairly warm day on Thursday, as memory serves. It certainly wasn't sleeting, as it was today in Our Little Town, but that is another story. Thursday. Warm. Warm enough, in fact, that I had rolled the windows down on the car.

Our Little Town is a pretty quiet one. You can leave the car in the driveway with the windows down and be pretty confident that it will still be there when you want to use it. It's one of the things I like about living here.

So I got back from my errands and went back inside to get some work done on my online classes before I had to go pick up the girls. And it being warm, the cat shot out the door as soon as I got home. Fortunately the one neighbor who objects to this has been fairly quiet about it recently, and the cats are duly registered these days so I figured it wasn't a problem.

After putting out a few brush fires online, I looked up at the clock and realized that I had better get a move on, since NBPE was about to let out. So I dashed out to the car, backed out of the driveway, and headed off.

It was shortly after this that I realized something was different.

I'm not sure what tipped me off. The angle of the sun. The foreboding soundtrack music that swelled up out of nowhere. The total loss of all radio contact with the outside world (although I'm used to that, really - we live in a radio dead zone). The swirling winds. It could have been anything.

Although if I had to put my finger on it, I'd say it was the fur-bearing missile that shot up from her nap in the cargo area and was ricocheting around the front seats.  It's those subtle cues that generally tip you off, I find.

There was an interlude of crisis.

Tria was not happy to be in a moving car. Moving cars almost always mean veterinary appointments, and those rarely end well as far as she is concerned. I was not happy to have Tria in my moving car. For one thing, five of her six ends are pointy and this is possibly more distracting than talking on a cell phone when driving. For another, I really did not want to take the cat to school with me, which meant turning around and taking her home. And I was already cutting it close as it was.  It was not a happy carload of creatures, is all I'm saying.

All this time I'm moving forward, by the way.

So I grabbed her by the shoulders and pinned her to the front seat, made a quick three-point turn in someone's driveway, and went back home, hoping that the yowling would not shatter the windshield. Not my yowling.  My voice is pitched too low.  But success was achieved, and the cat bounded out of the car as soon as I stopped, and I was off again.

Cats - nature's way of reminding you how little brainpower it actually takes to get through the day.


KimK said...

You had quite a series of adventures on your kid pick-ups this week, didn't you? Wasn't this week "barfing-boy-week" too?

David said...

Yes, it has been an unduly interesting time. But that's how you get blog posts, I suppose.

Unknown said...

Cats do as much as somebody with a bad case of chronic fatigue syndrome -- that is, three or four hours of "activity" per day. You tried to extend that activity time. Bad Dave, Bad.