Ever had one of those days that starts with good intentions, a comfortable pair of jeans, a groovy hat, a cup of coffee to go and a list. You load up the car and drive on up and out of the farmstead, with the one-eyed pug in the seat next to you shivering at the idea that he might, indeed, be going to the vet today and you’re feeling pretty happy with yourself and the day off that you have mapped out in front of you: A little grocery shopping, a stop at the thrift-store because husband finally cleaned out his closet, downsizing his collection of high school wrestling tees and wiping out any trace of polo shirt and dorky belts. And as you zip down the gravel road, Cosmo Radio on the XM, you smiled at the thought of a cleaner closet and the light and accomplished feeling of checking “rabies vaccination for the pug” and “shots for mom’s new and beautiful stray rescue cat” off of the list, a scent a little funky, a little narly, enters your nostrils.
You look at the pug who looks back at you with the best “innocent” look he can give with one eyeball and open the window a crack to let out the stench. Shame on the pug, no matter the talk we have about manners, he always seems to let one rip at the most inappropriate and confined times.
But to your dismay, when you open the window, the smell only seems to get worse, filling the car with a stench that is a little less pug fart and a little more cat shit.
The cat shit.
Realizing that you are only a good ten miles into your thirty-five mile trip to the vet, you manage to hold your breath long enough to make it through the windy and weaving road of the badlands’ breaks and out the other side to an approach where you pull over, get out of the car in the 20 degree temperature, open the back hatch and assess the shit-uation that came from the beautiful wandering feline in the kennel in the back of your car.
The cat shit.
Like, a lot.
And the towel your loving mother provided to keep the new wandering, fluffy kitten comfortable on her way to get civilized was not nearly the protection the rest of the world needed from the explosion that came out of that cat’s ass on the way through the badlands.
So, to make the best of a bad poop, you take that towel and throw it in the only stray grocery bag you have floating around your messy car and seal that thing up as tight as Jane Fonda’s abs in the seventies…and then hold your breath and plug the pug’s nose as you drive the rest of the twenty-five miles to the vet, only to realize when you get there that not only are you a half-hour late for an appointment you weren’t aware had a timeline, but they are not thrilled with you…and probably less thrilled with the shit covered cat-in-a-box sitting outside their door.
Flash forward to the next thirty miles where you reach the drop-off point for husband’s khakis and turtlenecks that never saw the light of day and mosey on over to the Wal-Mart on the other side of town. And as you are counting the amount of toilet paper rolls and frozen pizzas you will need to purchase to get you and your dearly-beloved through the rest of the month, you make the turn into the parking lot only to notice blue and red flashing lights in your rear-view mirror.
“Surely he can’t be pulling over such a law-abiding citizen like myself,” you think to yourself in a panic as you search your memory for any foul play that may have ensued on the five-minute drive across town.
Speed Limit? Check.
Complete stop at the red light? Ummmm….you must have blacked out while thinking about paper towels.
Still unsure of your offense, you pull into the parking lot and search frantically through your glovebox for the registration papers and insurance card you were certain you put in there last week, but now has somehow grown wings and flown away…maybe it escaped when you rolled down the window to let the shit-smell out.
“Tap, tap, tap,” goes the cop’s fingers on your window.
“Hello officer,” squeaks your voice from your throat.
“I pulled you over because your tags are expired,” he says politely.
“What!! Really?! Are you sure?” you say a little too passionately, a little too loudly, as you jump out of the car, paperwork in hand, to check the front license plate, only to look down and find that the yellow tags were indeed not affixed to your plates but, you know, right there on the registration card that you were just waving around in exasperation.
At a cop.
A cop who tells you to scrounge up your drivers license and that insurance card that flew out the window and get those tags on the car before he comes back from doing whatever cops do in their cars after they pull people over and humiliate them in front of their fellow Wal-Mart shoppers and he will settle with a warning.
Yes, you were warned, and just the right amount of annoyed…the perfect combination to help get you through a care-free shopping experience in the land of the inappropriately dressed with a list ten-feet long that includs everything from deodorant to light-bulbs to socks to the kitchen sink.
An hour and a half, one comment from a little lady that went something like “I wouldn’t want to be paying for your cart-load,” a suggestion from an employee that I shouldn’t just leave my purse in the cart and go walking around the store all willy nilly like that, geesh, and a receipt long enough to wrap three times around the sun it was time for your next stop: the liquor store.
A magical place where you would make all of your husband’s dreams of stocking the top of the fridge with a variety of whiskey flavors come true. And while you were at it, your momma’s dream of a little Kahlua in her coffee. But as you explain to the nice lady who helped you carry out the three boxes of booze that, no, there was no party planned, but that you live in the middle of nowhere and it is going to be a long winter, you gasp as you open the back hatch of your car to find that the eggs that you intended to safely place on the top of your pile of goods had not so gently dropped from their perch and landed in a nice, cracky pile on the floor of your car.
You consider cracking open that bottle of Jack for the drive back to the vet to pick up the animals, but don’t think that a second run-in with that cop would be good for your record, so you opt instead for a giant bag of McDonalds and a diet coke and turn up the radio to sing along to Bruce Springsteen between cheeseburger bites as you drive down the road to face the vet you so rudely scorned with tardiness earlier that morning.
But when you arrive she has nothing but good things to say about the shitty cat and the pug who looks so bad-ass now without on of his eyes. Nothing but nice things to say to a woman who can’t get her crap together enough to get to an appointment on time or put her eggs in a safe place.
So you load up the pug and the shitty cat and drive on out toward home, thinking this day wasn’t so bad after all, thinking about frozen pizza for supper…
thinking…wait…what’s that smell…Chug?
The cat shit.
Ever have one of those days?