Last Monday night I received a text from my friend Clover that read…
I hope your first travel day is smooth and awesome. You did it!
I did do it. I think I shocked some people by the fact that I actually DID move to Seattle, however the first travel day was ANYTHING but smooth.
I concocted a plan to use the hatchback of my car as a little travel area for my cat instead of putting her in a carrier. I put a litter box, blankets, food and water in the back, and then I put a piece of plexiglass in between the backseat and the hatchback allowing for an adequate amount of air for her.
Then, I packed up the rest of my car and used the stuff I didn’t send with the movers to keep the plexiglass in place. I’m a Genius! I thought I could drive the whole way without her being uncomfortable, and keeping her seperated from the cockpit of my car where it would be a horrendous disaster if she were to get out.
Problem is, I forgot to factor in the constant variable. The freewill of my cat.
I’m not one block from my apartment in L.A. when I spill a diet coke all over my console while making a K turn. My cat has been yelping the whole time acting as if she is going to die. She’s normally really dramatic, and I expect her to be out of sorts, so I tell her it’ll be ok, right before I scream FUUUCCCCK! at the top of my lungs as “soda lake” starts to overflow onto my lap which now….makes it look like I pissed myself too.
I clean up the diet coke and waste about a quarter of a roll of paper towels in the process.
Ok, not a great start to the trip…but the cat calmed down a little and I shake it off, and get on the freeway heading north.
Next thing that happens is my cat starts to meow, LOUDLY.
I try to tell her to calm down as I merge into the left lane and accelerate to fifty five miles per hour. Then, the yelping and the screaming from the back of the car reaches a level of epic proportions.
At this point, the shrillness and the fear in her meow is becoming evident to me. If she were a human being, she would be screaming at the top of her lungs.
I hear banging and howling and I look back and see her cat paws and her cat head have broken through by the strength of her hind legs as she jumps and tries to break out of the hatchback. On the second jump, she is successful.
She bursts out of the back of the car, through the space between the seat and the plexiglass, and onto all the rest of the stuff I had packed. She is now crawling around in the car, and I’m driving 65 miles per hour in moderate to heavy traffic on the 101 near Universal City.
I couldn’t pull over safely yet, so I call my friend to ask what to do and she tells me to either tape down the plexiglass, or put her in the carrier.
I feel like with the adrenaline running through her veins, the cat would be able to break out of anything now, so I keep driving a little more until I can safely exit the freeway but I think to myself…. maybe she’ll just chill in the car for the whole ride.
She’s not yelping anymore, she’s actually sitting ON her carrier in between the seats which I elected NOT to put her in just because I was trying to be a good Dad and make her feel LESS stressed. I think it had the opposite effect.
She looks like she is on acid in this picture, and yes, I realize how terribly, terribly dangerous it is to take a selfie while operating a motor vehicle at sixty miles per hour on the freeway, let alone right after a cat breaks out the back of it.
Problem now becomes, she keeps moving around and crawling across the dashboard because there is nowhere for her to sit cause I packed the car thinking that she would be able to take a poop somewhere in Oregon, instead of busting out Alcatraz style somewhere near the Valley.
I know she is gonna hate it, but I gotta put her in that carrier the whole way there.
I finally find an exit past the 405 where I can pull over. As I put together her carrier, Dapple looks at me and then stares in disbelief as I tell her to stay put so I can get the blanket out of the back to put in the carrier to once again, make her more comfortable.
Man, the things I do for this cat. Half the apartments up here want to charge me pet deposit, AND pet rent for her upwards to $40 a month, but I’m getting ahead of myself in the ever NOT so smooth sorted story of how I settled in Seattle.
Back to the cat. I tell her this…
“You’re going to hate the next two days, but it’s the safest way for us to get there.”
With that, I pick her up and top load her into the carrier. Annoyed grunts and meowing ensues. I swear to God, if Dapple had a cell phone at this point in the journey, she would be texting me the letters “FML.”
We made it about 266 miles that day before driving at night became an impossibility. The whole time Dapple cried and whined. She was definitely pissed, and I couldn’t blame her. I’m sure she was freaked the fuck out. I would be too if I were a cat who hadn’t been in a car or on the freeway for more than five minutes in 13 years, not to mention her being scared from the noise, the unfamiliarity, and the the thought of her not knowing what was going on.
As I walked back from the Jack In The Box with my dinner, something occurred to me. I hadn’t thought about the fact that maybe I was scared too, and maybe I hadn’t moved cities in thirteen years, and even though I lived in Seattle back in the year 2000, it might be a little unfamiliar to me too.
As I stepped back into my room at the Motel 6 in Santa Nella, I saw my cat sitting on the bed. She finally looked to be at ease, but it was with a heavy heart that I realized that yes, I did do it. I did make up my mind two months ago to move to Seattle, and I did spend the morning watching the movers take all my shit away in a truck.
Tasha asked if I wanted to take a picture in the apartment before I left, however I said no just moments before I started to cry just a little.
It finally hit me. I just left Los Angeles….and it was anything BUT a smooth ride.