I have a cat, Grunion, that I love probably way more than he loves me. When I go out of town, I stuff him in a carrier with my small dog (who, conversely, loves me more than I love him) and bring them both along for the ride. The dog doesn’t particularly care for the carrier, but his dissent is raised mainly through objectionable smells. The cat cares even less for being shoved in the carrier (perhaps in part due to the aforementioned dog fragrance) so he does whatever he can to avoid it.
The minute the cat senses than a road trip is in the offing, he hides, which he is incredibly good at. He avoids the obvious places and goes for the sliver of space behind the washing machine, or the cubby hole in the storage room, which requires a human to utilize a footstool and a broom to extract him. Several times I have picked up one end of the couch and shook it to scare him out from under it, but he just flattened himself and froze in place. Thus, I figured there was no way that he was under the couch, and went to search another location, and he won again.
His patience and determination is truly astonishing. I normally bring my suitcase down in the morning and place it by the door. When I’m finished computing, I pack my computer bag and add it to the pile of Things to Put in the Car. The minute he sees the suitcase come out, he assumes Cat Alert Status Alpha and goes into hiding, where he will remain until I leave at 4:00pm.
Lately, in an effort to out-sneak the cat, I have delayed bringing my suitcase downstairs until the last possible moment. It works perfectly, most of the time. Except I am still me, by which I mean flighty and easily distractible. Last week I forgot my suitcase entirely. This week, I remembered my suitcase, but forgot my computer bag.
If you knew how emotionally attached to my electronic teddy bear, or laptop, as the rest of the world calls it, you would understand the amount of distress this caused me. Luckily, there was an old laptop available at my destination and I had my phone, also known as The Pocket Googler. I would be fine.
Unfortunately, the loaner laptop was on a mission to make me look like a crack-head. You see, although I’m a super-fast typist, I’m not very accurate. Auto-correct is my personal assistant, and this computer didn’t have one. Without its reliable skills, I flailed about the keyboard in my usual style and instead of coherent thoughts I was rewarded with sentences that looked like a child typed them. (Not my child, of course. My children are inexplicably fast and accurate typists. Or one of them is, anyway.)
The other problem was that although the computer had several word processing programs, I can only think in Word. I realize this is irrational. Typing is typing, but there’s something Pavlovian about the grey margins and blue bar that makes the words flow. It’s a real thing—I call it. (For those of you who didn't grow up in my neighborhood, “calling it” was a way to establish something as irrefutable, whether it actually was or not.)
Completely flummoxed, I read a book (like the kind you hold in your hands, as opposed to the Kindle variety, because my handy Kindle was back home snuggled up with my laptop). After that, I started binge-watching a new TV series. The benefits of not being online all day long reduced my political outrage from constant to only a few times a day, with long breaks in-between. I think I’m supposed to say something here about gratitude and the benefits of moderation, but I’m too busy mistyping all the words I meant to write yesterday, and marveling over autocorrect’s ability to fix them.
Copyright © 2020 Lara Lillibridge
Public domain imagery courtesy of Snappygoat.com