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How to win at navigation

I don’t usually post about my routine weekday patrols of My Trail. It’s because usually we go left, or we go right, and nothing changes unless I get in a fight with some evil troll. Well… this morning we didn’t have to look for adventure because adventure found us!

When we go right, My Trail ends after exactly 2 miles, so Mom likes to run through the neighborhood to get to the 5 or 6 miles that she likes to run. We always run down to the traffic light, turn right, then take the first right, and then another right when that road dead ends. That brings us back to the road to the trail, and we’ve made a kind of chuck-it (or a “lollipop” as Mom calls it). Every day we run through the neighborhood at the end of My Trail, it’s the same.

Well this morning Mom wanted to go an extra block. So instead of taking the first right, we were going to take the second. But then there was a guy standing in his driveway in the second, and Mom knows how much I don’t like people who just stand around, so we went another block. Then, when we turned right at the next block the road wasn’t straight. It was kind of twisty and all the cross streets came in at angles. We didn’t know it yet, but this was a strange and magical place called….


It seemed as though cats lived in every house here! No sooner would Bodie and I dart left to follow one cat scent, when we would hear a leaf rustle to the right and I would se a cat streaking under a car. We went on like this, gleefully chasing cats who popped out from behind a bush on this side of the street or up on top of a fence on that side of the street while Mom growled and hooted. In one magical yard, a grey cat froze when it saw me and Bodie. We screeched and barked at it, but it just tried to lie flatter into the ground, dummy! “C’mon, you fool! You’re supposed to run. We can’t race you if you’re lying down like a bird dropping!” “Cat! Cat! Cat! Cat! Cat!” said Bodie, so excited her voice was cracking. “No! Nooo! No! No! NOOOOO!” said mom, so excited her voice was cracking. This must have been the world’s dumbest or bravest cat, because it stuck to the spot like it was trying to melt until Bodie and I finally lost the tug-of-war (after the closes margin yet!), and Mom dragged us away.

That’s when The World’s Dumbest Cat bolted, and Bodie and I got a second wind and redoubled our screaming and yanking. At which point The World’s Dumbest Cat froze again. Mom dragged us across the street, and around a corner to get away…

…and then the road ended in a traffic light. That was a surprise. We had already seen the one traffic light on our route, and it was supposed to be behind us. This must be a DIFFERENT traffic light. Which meant Mom didn’t know where we were.

Mom has this magic thing in her phone that can usually tell us where to go, but since My Trail doesn’t have an address, her magic “get me out of here” button was no help. Bodie and I didn’t mind. We wandered around Catville for almost 20 minues. Mom (who can read street signs) kept recognizing the names of streets we’d seen before, but did that mean that we were going toward or away from My Trail? I would recognize the smell of a familiar house, but Mom couldn’t orient herself to remember if we had turned left or right the last time she saw it. After running almost 2 miles through Catville Mom finally found her way back to our usual loop and took us back home.

“I sure hope she takes us back to Catville on next week’s adventure!” Bodie said. Bodie doesn’t know Mom very well yet, I guess.

-Oscar the Navigator


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