The Cat In Coach

“SOMEBODY HAS DIED!”

This dramatic proclamation was not one I intended to utter Monday afternoon. No. I was putting the finishing touches on my packing organization (something I have elevated to an art from) and daydreaming about the Cheesecake Factory salad I would soon be shoveling into my face when I received a call from an unknown number. That number turned out to be the airline company I was using to fly to Washington DC in a few hours. Kindly, a robot told me that the flight was cancelled. I’m not sure if they record the responses. They should, though, because I got a few good zingers in. Several indignant, “HOW DARE YOU, BASTARDS?” too.

In a panic and filled with rage, I telephoned US Airways and shouted at more robots until kindly Miss Dorothy picked up. She was very nice and awfully Southern and I had no right to do it, but I lied a lot to Miss Dorothy. She was happy to book me onto another flight THE NEXT DAY. At this time, I spout out the mistruth about dead people (which I don’t and won’t regret) and did one of those choked hiccups emotional people do. This worked well. She put me on hold and in about ten minutes, I was booked onto another flight that left in under two hours. She wished me well, I blessed her heart, and I scrambled to get ready.

Thank Beysus Jessica could hurry out to the farm to take me to the airport. We flew to town, and I was quickly on board the plane. Didn’t have much time to wait. Our airport in Des Moines is probably the most chill airport in the world. #blessed.

Now, I’m sure somebody in DC died recently. It’s a big town. And I didn’t tell her about who it was that was dead. So I really didn’t lie. I really told her the absolute truth. Besides that, I was delighted to leave on an earlier flight. I had never been ecstatic about arriving in a new city at nine o’clock in the evening. Now I was going to be getting in at six. Perfect. Suits me right down to the ground. Besides that, there was a man with a bun in first class, so I knew this was the flight path that was destined for me. (I’m all for spending loads of money on luxury, but why exactly would you ever fly first class from Des Moines to Chicago? It’s a forty-minute flight. You do you, Mr. Manbun. I don’t judge. (LOLz))

The flight from Chicago wasn’t delayed but a minute, which is much better than my usual aggravation with the O’Hare International Airport. That place can be a cesspool of misery when things start going wrong. I’ll never forget the night I was there, wading through thousands of cots of stranded people. It was like a refugee camp.

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But I couldn’t be too unhappy because I love to travel. I love everything there is to do associated with travel. I love researching flights and taking all sorts of transportation and riding on trains and going new places and finding clever solutions to irksome problems and locating cheap hotels or reasonably priced apartments or splurging hundreds and hundreds of dollars at the CHATEAU MARMONT. Travel is just wonderful. You can flee at a moment’s notice, and in a few hours, you’ll be someplace nice. I will travel until I die. I hope I die while I’m traveling. Actually, no. I need to die in Paris to get the cemetery plot I’m eyeing. Anyway, I’m off topic.

I was squished in the middle of two larger fellows. I rolled my eyes, but it was only a short flight, so I wasn’t awfully bothered. What did bother me was the sound of a cat meowing in sorrow. I really wasn’t sure what I was hearing at first. I thought it was perhaps a child. I don’t know the sounds those little people make. They’re like aliens. After a while, I decided it wasn’t a human being, so I got to wondering if there was a cat in the luggage area. How sad, I thought, and my heart ached for the poor creature isolated in the dark, away from its beloved human. Then, the sound became a hiss and I sat bolt upright. THE CAT WAS RIGHT NEXT TO ME!

The gentleman to my left had a cat under his seat! Now, he wasn’t the nicest man, mind you, but he did tell me all about Terrance. His cat is thirteen years old and hates the world. He hates life. He hates everything. The only thing he likes is his person, and he has to go with him or he won’t eat. I nodded in complete understanding. If I could take my Tiger and Edwin and Clea with me everywhere, I would. I’d have them at work. I didn’t get to see much of Terrance, but hearing his agitated moans was plenty to keep my perky throughout the flight. It’s wonderful to be near a cat, especially a gray one with a squashed face and an undistinguished blotch of orange on his face. Might be the ugliest cat I’ve ever seen. I loved him.

Terrance and I said a fond farewell as soon as we landed in Washington DC. I miss him constantly, but I had things to do.

The Ronald Reagan National Airport might be my favorite airport now. Come to think of it, I never had a favorite before. Heathrow is a monstrosity, Charles de Gaulle is outdated, the one in Nice makes no sense, Zurich has these weird departments you can’t escape from, Cairo’s is endless and all the bathroom attendants want baksheesh, LAX is dirty, and O’Hare smells of caramel corn. Anyway, this one is rather beautiful. Almost like a cathedral. It was in my Art Appreciation textbook, and seeing it in person makes me appreciate it more than in that dumb class.

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It was very simple to find the Metro into town (even if the machines were a relic of the Nixon-era) and soon I was in the heart of the Capitol. The buildings were antiquated and charming and I felt quite at my leisure.

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It was no work at all to find the apartment, and I am in love with it. I’m staying in a place I found on AirBNB — I swear by it. I have a reference code and everything. Send me your email and I’ll send it to you, good for $25 off your rental. The apartment is GORGEOUS and is decorated to the highest standards. There’s a fireplace (electric — ew), a wine chiller, an ice machine, a rainfall shower, many dimmer switches, and all the comforts and luxuries you could possibly need. No microwave, though. I never use the things, but I bought popcorn to devour. Oh well.

I like it here. I won't leave.

A post shared by Benjamin Phillips (@bdphillips) on

 

I put my things down and hurried off to a macaron shop I had read about. It had been featured on Food Network, so I knew it was exactly what I wanted: an overrated and probably awful excuse for French pastries! WAS I EVER RIGHT!

IMG_3937I bought one of every flavor they made and THEY WERE REPULSIVE! I still have six left, and I can’t bring myself to finish them. The one on the top right was the worst. I think it was supposed to be green tea, but it tasted of salt water and the piss of satan. NOPE. I feel reassured that I continue to make the finest macarons in this nation. I will accept any challenger. FIGHT ME.

After finding some Indian food and stuffing myself to bursting, I happily fell asleep. Well, not quite. I watched that new show, The Royals, which I totally recommend. Prince Liam can get it. Then I caught up with the Kardashians. Then I went to bed.

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