Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Great Expectations

Since the last time I wrote here Koch and I left work one Friday night, got into our car with the cats, and drove 29 hours to Brooklyn.

Actually, I just made it sound like something we might have done on a whim. Not so. Lots of planning went into this trip. Planning like failing to have a job in the city lined up when we arrived. Planning like not having a place of our own and instead invading Dad's swanky apartment, which, by the way, is 100% anti-cat. Here's a concise list of acts of feline mischief achieved in the two and a half weeks we've been here : one broken saucer, one broken full-length mirror, two broken blinds, one orchid knocked over (I cleaned this up before Dad got home. He will only learn about this if he reads my blog as much as he claims to.) Several paintings knocked over, put right, and knocked over again. One vase full of water knocked over. Thousands of claw sharpenings on the couch. Millions of litter particles tracked throughout a once-sparkling apartment. Trillions of cat hairs deposited here and there, most likely by Claudius, who likes his living space to be lightly coated in his detritus.

But I digress. What I really wanted to write about is the car trip. Before we left, Koch and I asked ourselves the question we are constantly asking ourselves: "How can we better ourselves during this road trip?" 29 hours is a lot of time to sit in a sedan listening to the same Swedish pop albums over and over again. So we took ourselves to the miserly books-on-tape section of our friendly local Barnes and Noble. Koch wanted "The Odyssey." I said, "Fuck that. I've already read it, anyway." I said "A Game of Thrones". Here's why, before you jump to any conclusions: I'd made the mistake of hanging out with two geeky librarians from work whose superhero names are "Awesome Mormon Guy" and "Fan-Fic Girl Who Is Pretty Okay". Together they are currently uniting their superpowers to organize a George R.R. Martin exhibition for next year and I figured I should get on the bandwagon before it left without me. Anyway, Koch is impervious to all these ridiculous circumstances and also said "Fuck that" to my choice. So we met somewhere in the middle of Homer's epic and science fiction's newest darling and bought Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations," read by Frank Muller.

Now, driving from College Station, TX to Brooklyn, NY takes 29 hours if you're driving a black 2004 Ford Taurus hooked up to U-Haul's second smallest trailer. You can only speed so much before the transmission overheats and you're somewhere in the middle of Alabama, and the closest thing to civilization is a Klansmen gathering going on in a nearby field. Fortunately, we didn't speed and none of this happened to us. We're not completely stupid.

On the other hand, reading "Great Expectations" out loud while doing all the voices takes a measly 15.75 hours. To be honest I can't remember what we listened to the remaining fourteen hours. Mostly it was cats meowing so piteously we got worried their hearts were actually about to explode. (They didn't.) But once we put on Frank Muller reading about Pip and Estella and Miss Havisham, the cats quieted down and listened intently, usually with their eyes closed, probably in deep concentration. Whenever a CD ended and there was brief silence, they'd start howling at us to put it back on, quick! Meow Meow Meow! Then Muller would come back on and they'd shut the fuck up again.

So what I'm trying to say is my cats are smarter than I thought. Even when they leave their shit just outside the cat box, I can remind myself, at least they like Dickens. And so should you.

The cats enjoying great literature. The net (it's actually a hammock) was hung up to keep them from going into the front seat and falling asleep on the gas pedal.


  1. Should have done Game of Thrones, I've been going through the audio books, and I'm almost done with book 3. Books 1 and 2 are fantastic. Then you get to watch the HBO show, which is almost as good as the books.

  2. Yeah, and I heard there's all sorts of hardcore fantasy-medieval sex, at least in the show, which almost certainly means even more in the books.