My friend, "Clara,"suggested she drive the vehicle I was renting to transport the animals back East.
"It will be fun; I love road trips!" she said.
"Look, this is a long slog on an interstate. I'm not sure you want to do that, and I'm not sure you'll have company." My best friend and I were riding in the truck; I was driving, and he's allergic to pets.
"It will be cool. Maybe I can get Jodi to come along and we can drive back, too."
"Hey, that's your call, but that would be a really big favor, and I'd pay for the vehicle."
When it looked like she'd be riding alone and not with my friend's BF, she said, "I'll need a detailed map so I'll know where we're going."
"The entire trip is I-90, from Chicago to Boston. I will print you out a map to the hotel in Rochester, and to my uncle's place in MA, but we'll be near each other the entire time."
"How will we communicate?"
"We have cellphones."
"Mine doesn't always have good coverage."
"Um...there's not a lot I can do about that, is there?"
"Well, I won't know where I'll be, and.."
"It's INTERSTATE 90. OK, I'll buy a set of flashlights, and if either of us needs to stop at a rest area, they can flash the other."
A week ago I mentioned I'd bought a covered bed for one of the cats to hide in.
"He'll like it for the trip," I said.
"He's not going to be in a carrier?"
"He can't be in a carrier for two days."
"How is he going to be contained?"
"Well, he'll be behind a barrier in the vehicle, but he won't be in a crate. He can't be with the other cats because he becomes a pest, and there won't be room for two cat crates big enough for a litter box, and the rabbit crate. I've done this before. Several times. It will be fine. All cats want to do in a car is lay low."
"I just don't want him crawling on my lap when I'm driving; I won't be driving somewhere familiar."
Again, the entirety of the trip will be along Interstate 90. No back roads, no blue highways.
"He won't be able to get in your lap. He'll be behind a barrier. I also have a harness and leash I can use as a backup. You won't be loading or unloading any of the animals. It will be fine, trust me."
I could tell she was becoming neurotic, so I got home and called Jodi, who's a freelance reporter.
"If the issue is money, I will give you money to ride with Clara. She's doing the Clara Thing and getting neurotic on me, and it's too close to the move to change plans."
Jodi assured me she was going, and also confirmed she'd keep Clara on earth.
I won't miss any of this.