Friday, July 07, 2006

Preparation, Or, How I Know ECG is Right for Me

As some of you know, I'm currently roadtripping. This is a long-planned affair. When I found out that my good friend Doug planned to celebrate his marriage in Eugene, Oregon, I asked ECG if he'd go with me. He said he'd not only go, but we should make an event out of it, and so the plans for this epic trip began to sprout from our brains. ECG installed a trip-planning software on my computer, I bought a pile of Lonely Planet guides, and the two of us sat down to make a list of all the things that we wanted to see. We planned around a lot of factors--cost and photographability (a new word for you) the primary ones. And, since we planned so far ahead, we managed to find places that we really wanted to stay in at prices we could afford. We both pictured ourselves snuggling in the romantic cottages and B&Bs we booked, hiking along lush, scenic trails, enjoying warm, treeripe fruit from dusty farm stands.

The planning part of the trip was dreamy. The actual preparation, not so much. We both got a tad jittery in the couple days before the trip, just wanting to get on the road. I fretted over making sure we had everything we needed, and he worried about his car, the price of gas, and whether or not the photographable places would be swarmed with tourists. As our irritability increased before the trip, I wondered whether we'd get along the whole long nine days with few people to keep us company but ourselves.

But, a cat proved to me that ECG and I would have no problem.

Two nights before we left, after I had finally finished baking the banana bread breakfasts and sourdough loaves for sandwiches that would feed us for the first part of the trip, my cat Reggie began to act erratically. He kept opening his mouth very wide, slamming it shut, and making a strange plastic clicking sound in the process. He threw himself against furniture with his mouth open, then would take both front paws and claw inside his mouth. My first instinct (very wrong) was that he was having a seizure. But the noise was so strange and his behavior so purposeful, that ECG and I figured that something was stuck in his mouth. I tried prying Reggie's mouth open as he razorslashed me with those adamantium claws. In the few seconds I could bear the feline weaponry, I pried his mouth wide open, his rough pink tongue waving like a hitch-hiker's thumb. I could see nothing.

ECG tried the same thing with no better result. Then, we cornered Reggie in the office, on the guest bed. I held his paws and neck, while ECG searched Reggie's mouth. He fished around with his fingers and discovered the culprit, a very tough piece of plastic (source still unkown) that wound itself around Reggie's lower teeth. Each time ECG went to pull it out, Reggie snapped jaws shut and cried. That bitch piece of plastic just wouldn't budge. We worked for over two hours, sweating and murmering calming words to Reggie. ECG was patient. I was patient. Reggie was not patient. Finally, ECG gave up on pulling out the plastic with his fingers, went downstairs to the toolbox in the garage, brought up needle-nosed pliers, and pulled at the damn thing with those. The trick worked. The pliers emerged with a bloody, cat-saliva covered piece of industrial plastic. Reggie escaped our clasp and ran under the bed, without even a thank you.

When we finally crawled into bed that night, much later than either of us planned, I knew we'd have no problems. I have a man who is willing to spend a night digging around in a cat's mouth. If ECG can put up with the frustrations of that, he can put up with the frustrations of me for a few days. And so he has, happily.

We left frighteningly early on Tuesday morning, ran into a 4th of July parade in Independence, CA, lost a cell phone in a Yosemite waterfall, and other than that, suffered no difficulties. In fact, we've experienced a thousand climates in one state--California--having traveled it along it's inner mountain ridge from the South to the North. Here, as promised, are a few of the photographic highlights.

That's just a taste of mountainous California. Stay tuned for Oregon later this weekend, and the coast of California next week.

No comments: