Saturday, August 29, 2015

Gym Mysteries: The latest and most adorable new chapter

Not actually "Car Cat." Courtesy:

I’m going to pull back the curtain right at the start here and tell you I had no blog topic for this week. As late as Friday morning, my plan was to take maybe ten of the roughly 12,000 pictures I took during my honeymoon and do funny captions. Spinning pure gold here at The Cheese Life. That was the plan – it may still be a future plan, so if that sounds like fun, stay tuned – but then on Friday morning, inspiration struck in a familiar location: the gym. Well, more accurately in the parking lot of the gym.
                There I was, crossing the parking lot to my car, my old grade school and high school backpack full of dirty clothes on my back. The morning had the chilly feel of Fall, by the way. As I was walking passed a seemingly run-of-the-mill, plain old car, it happened. I noticed four things which gave me a blog topic. This blog topic. I will now relate to you the four things I noticed, not in the order I noticed them, but in a calculated order based on dramatic effect.
                So, the first thing I noticed –and this was actually the first thing I noticed – was two open Tupperware containers were sitting in the back window of the car. This seemed an odd place for Tupperware, and upon further inspection I noticed they also contained little bits of food. The back window of a car seemed a very strange place for containers of food. Front window or passenger seat, those would make sense. Someone was eating and tossed them there when they got to their destination. I get that. Back window, that’s a hard place to reach from the driver’s seat, maybe whoever it was, wasn’t traveling alone.  
                That brings me to the second thing I noticed – not really the second thing this time, dramatic effect: the car had a handicapped tag prominently hanging from its rear view mirror, but it wasn’t in a handicapped spot. It was actually parked across from the handicapped spots outside of the gym, all of which were empty. While the car was close, many of the empty handicapped spots were even closer. Again, odd. Maybe the tag is for a relative who wasn’t traveling in the car that day or the person just wanted to challenge him or herself.
                Now we come to the third thing I noticed – but not really: Not one or two, but all four of the cars windows were slightly open. Just ever so slightly. Now, I usually leave my back two windows cracked when I get to work to air out the towel I use at the gym, but never all four. Also, the day, as I mentioned when I set the scene for you earlier, wasn’t hot. All four windows cracked was certainly overkill on a day like that, when even in direct sunlight, a car likely wasn’t going to get all that stuffy.
                And now the last thing I noticed: but not really: There was a full-sized adult cat, white with a few black and brownish spots resting on the car’s dashboard. My mind couldn’t process what I was seeing. I reeled. The cat paid me no mind and continued lounging.

                I had many, many questions for the owner of this vehicle, some of which I will now list for you:

  • Why a cat? Is this one of those stress cats? It can’t be though because honestly I love cats, but I’ve found traveling anywhere with them to be no less than thirty times more stressful than traveling without them. If it’s a stress cat, is it only driving you find stressful? Once you get inside the gym though, you’re good?  
  • Forgetting the cat element for a moment: Who takes a pet with them on a trip to the gym? I could see if you were out running a few quick errands, you toss a dog in the backseat or something so he or she could stick her head out and such. But the gym is kind of a longer term commitment. You’re looking at what, at least a solid hour? Maybe even more? I know for a fact that the car’s owner was in the gym because the only two stores it was parked near were the gym and a Halloween store which hasn’t even officially opened yet. Also this was 8 am on a Friday morning in late August. The only person planning for Halloween that early is me. Michael Myers is even like: “Ehhhh … give me two more weeks. I’ll get to it then.” So an hour in the car looking at a parking lot, I don’t think you’re doing the animal any favors at that point.
  • Why that day? As we’ve discussed ad nauseam on this blog, I got to the gym a lot and I have never, ever seen a cat sitting in a car outside that gym before. Ask my wife – she likes when I name drop wife into these things – we can’t go for a walk or a drive without me pointing out every animal I see. It’s like the world’s most completely useless sixth sense. If there was a cat outside of that gym every day, I would have noticed. So why that day? Did someone know I needed a blog topic? Did the catsitter cancel at the last second? Was that this person’s first day at the gym? Is seeing that cat going to become a regular thing for me now? Do the person and the cat usually come in later, but something happened that forced them to come in much earlier?
  • Did the cat drive itself there and maybe it just needed to rest up before it got back on the road? No. Of course not. That’s silly … or maybe …

                Normally the sight of an unattended animal in a car makes me uneasy, but the cat looked fine. The windows were cracked, the day was cool. He or she apparently had some food waiting in the backseat if the need arose. Litter? I guess that’s the car owner’s problem.
                Still though, I was baffled by this. And what about the not parking in the handicapped space thing? What was going on there? Probably nothing, but it adds to the allure. 
                I was mildly tempted to call out sick from work and just monitor the situation. I wanted to see who came out to get into that car and then just straight up accost them with the above questions. But I had stuff to do at work. I also considered running into the gym and announcing that whatever kind of car it was had left its lights on. Then I could run back outside and, when the person came out to check, I could accost them with the above list of questions.
                I didn’t do any of those things. I drove by the car, double-checked that the windows were indeed down – they were – and went about my day. Good thing is, I got a blog post out of it. Now Monday morning, that’s when things are going to get real interesting. If I walk out and the cat is there, great, I have a new and adorable morning friend. If he or she is not there, then it will go down as one of the gym’s great mysteries. Like the female cleaner who cleaned the men’s locker room while guys were in there getting changed and then vanished. Or Dad-Who-Doesn’t-Like-Closed-Doors.
                Egypt has its Sphinx, Peru has its Nazca Lines, I have Car Cat. And those other things.       

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