Though my brain is still reeling with thoughts of my new three-book deal with Sourcebooks, Inc., I’m not going to blog about that today. I figure I have 15 months to annoy you with squeals about the upcoming release, so it seems wise to find other topics to annoy you with in the meantime.
Today’s subject of annoyance will be childproof car windows.
I don’t have or want children, so I'm often irritated by the locks on the rear windows of my car. I consider the risk fairly low that parents and friends riding in my backseat will be suddenly overcome by the urge to leap from a moving vehicle. For this reason, I usually keep the window locks switched off.
But I forgot to consider the cat.
Those of you who follow me on Twitter already know I have a kleptomaniac feline who routinely brings me items stolen from neighbors’ yards and homes. Matt the Cat’s favorite treasures include gloves and hand puppets, though he’s been known to swipe darts, swim goggles, and somewhat disturbingly, a roll of toilet paper.
In addition to petty thievery, Matt’s favorite hobby is riding in the car. It’s likely he’s plotting a bank heist and wants to be certain he can drive the getaway car if called upon to do so. Nevertheless, I invited Matt to come along when I ran to the grocery store yesterday. For the first three minutes, he sat purring on my lap as I steered the car onto the highway. Then he decided to explore the backseat.
I was going 55 mph and merging into traffic when an explosion of wind burst through the backseat. I stole a quick glance in the rearview mirror and screamed.
Matt’s back paws were on the controls for the rear window. His front paws were on the headrest of the front passenger seat. His midsection was leaned against the yawning void where the rear window was gaping open.
“Mrwow,” said Matt.
“Shit!” I said, and reached back with one hand to grab Matt.
With my second hand, I fumbled for the controls to shut the window. With my third hand, I continued to steer the car. This is probably why the car veered dangerously toward the median, still going 55 mph in traffic.
With his tail whipping in the wind, Matt peered happily out the window, probably wondering why the other drivers were giving us one-fingered hand signals as we swerved across the road.
I gave up fumbling for the window controls and put one hand back on the steering wheel, still clutching Matt’s collar to hold him inside the vehicle.
“Mrwow,” said Matt as his collar snapped off in my hand.
Dumbfounded, I recalled my clever decision to outfit our cats with collars designed to snap off when caught on branches or fence posts. It seemed like a good safety feature at the time, though clearly the creators failed to consider the likelihood of a cat owner needing to hold a cat inside a moving vehicle after said cat decided to perch in the window of a car traveling at high speeds down the highway.
With another scream, I grabbed for the controls again, this time managing to roll up the backseat window without catching Matt’s tail in it.
“Mrwow,” said Matt as my heart slammed in my chest and I steered the car safely into a parking lot.
Perhaps sensing this was an occasion for shame, Matt slunk down under the backseat and sat there staring at me while I engaged the childproof window locks and tried to ignore the intense look of disgust from a grocery store patron who had witnessed the whole thing.
I spent the next five minutes lecturing Matt about the importance of keeping his hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times.
“Mrwow,” said Matt to let me know he understood.
At least I’m pretty sure he understood. This morning, he brought me a plastic bottle cap and dropped it on my forehead to wake me up. If that’s not an apology, I don’t know what is.