** disclaimer: this story is sad. Even if you don't like cats.****
I had an AWESOME day the other day. The stars aligned and both family and work life totally rocked.
The fact that my colleague who was editing an article of mine told me "Don't look at my edits today, you're having a great day" (you know who you are) as I left for work, the 2 year old had crazy scary dreams that night and ended up kicking me in my bed for three hours, and the fact that both the dog and the 4 year old missed their respective toilets in the morning, wasn't enough of a sign of impending doom. I was still in a fantastic mood as I scrubbed carpets and matresses with the carpet shampooer wearing my fancy, have-to-be-around-adults-clothes.
On my way to work, going 50 (allowable on this road, trust me) with a slew of cars behind me, a kitty makes like a bullet train and runs right in front of my car. Cat - 0, Suburban - 1.
The only other time I've hit a living creature with the car was in Michigan when one of my uncles was trying to teach me how to drive. I whacked a pheasant. He was mad mostly because I decimated the creature so much so, that there was nothing to save. (aka, roasted pheasant). I come from hunting stock, that's really not as crazy as it sounds.
I hit cat. I know by the sound that there is no way that cat survived. I slow down, however and start to go to the side of the road. This is when I see a car pull over next to the flat cat through my rearview mirror.
I'll be honest. I'm starting to panic now, mostly by the litigious state of our state. People here in So Cal cut you no slack - I am a pariah in the neighborhood for the simple fact that I have large dogs (instead of little yappy ones) and five kids, instead of say, the popular 1.7. We are a large, loud, sometimes messy group. I'm thinking to myself 'this man is totally going to chew me out.' I'm also thinking if I leave now, he'll probably write down my license plate number and will either a) report me to the police b) find out my address somehow and stalk me c) resort to a voodoo doll, and as we can see from the first couple of paragraphs, I do not need any help in the bad vibe department.
What do I do whenever I'm in a panic and don't want to talk to mean strangers? I call hubby. Who is at work dealing with far bigger issues than a dead cat. I'm sure he was more exasperated than he sounded over the phone.
"What do I do?" I whisper. (I'm already whispering, thinking the mean guy can somehow hear me 50 yards away while I'm sitting in a metal box.)
"Well, there's nothing you can do,.."
"(high pitched whine from me) OMGOSH! He's picking up the cat and he's driving over here! Now what do I do???"
Exasperation finally flows through the phone: "I don't know! Act sad! I gotta go,..."
So, I compose myself as the man pulls up next to me on the side of the road and gets out. I roll down my window. He leans in.
"There was nothing you could have done."
Wha? "I'm so sorry,.."
"Really, it's okay."
I'm calming down since obviously this person isn't going to flog me for catslaughter on the way to work.
"Is it,.. dead?"
Then I remember seeing through my rearview mirror that the man got out of his car and picked up the cat. Now I'm starting to worry about my own person safety since in my book, that is not normal behavior.
Uhm,.. did you take the cat?!?"
"No, I just picked it up and moved it to the side of the road."
This is when I notice the man is wearing scrubs with cartoon cats all over them.
"OMGOSH, do you work at a vet clinic?" I ask. At this point I'm feeling a little delirious - this is getting a bit weird.
"No, I work at the local hospital. But my wife and I have run a cat rescue out of house for decades. Well, thanks for stopping" he says as he walks back to his car and drives off.
At this point, I'm wondering what this all means. How bizarre is it, really, that I kill a cat and the witness is a cat rescuer wearing kitties on his shirt?
I'm thinking maybe God (who knows I take everything very personally) is saying "Look, stuff happens. You can't be held responsible for everything. And in case you don't believe me, I'll send this cat rescuer to tell you it wasn't your fault. And if you're still too blond and polish to understand that, I'll include a visual - cat scrubs - so you really get the point. Have a nice day."
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.