I spend a lot of time in parking lots these days. Not in a creepy way, but in a “if I don’t get out of this goddamn house and away from these goddamn people I’m going to lose my goddamn mind.” Okay, so it’s kind of creepy, too.
But truthfully, those little 20 minute (3 hour) escapes are the pandemic version of a spa day. I pick a nice, secluded spot, hook up my laptop to the free WiFi, and sip on my chai latte as I do whatever the hell I want! Sure, I get some strange looks from the occasional nosy employee or bothersome comments about “loitering” and “30-minute time limits” and “indecent exposure while you attempted to use your child’s porta potty ’cause you thought no one was looking,” but haters gonna hate.
Besides the delightful- if slightly cramped- seclusion, parking makes for great people watching. Nothing is more entertaining than watching people who don’t know they’re being watched- and no, that is not technically stalking. What, are you a cop? You have to tell me if you’re a cop.
I’ve seen my fair share of arguments over masks or people skittering away when they find themselves without a poop bag to clean up after their dogs. But nothing will ever top last week’s excursion, when I saw a lady walking her cat. On a leash.
I know cat walking is a thing, and I know that in Austin saying you let your cat outside on its own is now morally equivalent to saying you throw it in the middle of the highway during rush hour, but y’all… I ain’t there yet. Call the ASPCA. Actually, don’t. I have enough on my hands with all these restraining orders.
Luckily for me, I had brought a bag of popcorn along with me on this particular outing, which made the ensuing adventure all the more delightful to watch. The hapless cat walker (CAT WALKER! I just…) got things off to a good start by allowing Frisky to explore his surroundings as she lovingly followed behind. I think she got lulled into a false sense of confidence that she was going to get out of this thing with her dignity in tact, which made me think she was a new cat owner. I, on the other hand, have lifelong experience with those little fuckers, so I knew what was coming, and it made me positively glow with anticipation.
Frisky started getting friskier and friskier, causing his devoted owner to have to pick up the pace a bit. Before long, she was in a dead run after Frisky as he darted from squirrel to squirrel. I’ve included an actual shot of me watching from my car.
I suspected Frisky was holding out for a grand finale, and boy did he deliver like Domino’s. Just as his owner gently suggested if might be time to wrap things up, Frisky made a leap for a flock of pigeons.
In a tree.
A tall one.
The leash dangled from the oak like a forgotten party streamer, and the owner looked up like “Well I’ll be damned. Cats can climb trees!!” That’s when I dusted the popcorn salt from my hands and decided I really should be getting back home .
I suppose I could have offered to help, but doing so would have kept that cat owner from learning a valuable lesson. I can’t recall what that lesson was now, but you know. Something about curiosity and cats and blah blah blah. The important thing is that I got a free show and made my escape before the cops came.
I can’t wait to see what happens next week.