Wednesday evening, O came home from work to announce that we needed to get out of town for the upcoming long weekend. He had arranged everything and we'd leave at 6 am Thursday morning. I was less than enthusiastic about the thought of driving 8 hours to Trujillo in the car, no matter how big it was, with Celeste. I've been down for about 3 months with some kind of crud, exhausted most days, and sick of coughing up snot and yuck. I just needed to sleep, and was counting on having the long weekend to do just that.
I whined, I cried, I wheedled, coughed and snorted. No, I couldn't go. How could I go, I felt so terrible. But it all fell on deaf ears. It had not occurred to me that a good part of my problem was the crap that was being constantly expelled from the hundreds of cars that pass through our neighborhood every day. It had occurred to O, however. We were off to warmer (if you can imagine that) climes, far from the maddening crowds and smoke-belching motors of Lima.
So we packed up Celeste and her leash, a backpack of clean clothes for O and I, and fell into the car. I fell into the car. Celeste leaped into the car, clambered into my lap, tried to jump into the driver's seat, twisted and turned, kicked and snorted, and generally wrestled around until I pretended I was Mike Tyson and bit her ear. She screamed, O looked shocked, I got mad, and Celeste was banned to the back seat. No window, no treats, no lap to lay her head in when she was tired, no little games to play when she was bored. She retaliated by trying to shove herself underneath the front seat from the rear, getting stuck, screaming for help, and refusing to cooperate when help was rendered. I left her there for the moment, reached into my backpack, and pulled out the only towel we'd thought to bring. I spread it across the backseat, grabbed Celeste by the tail, and hauled her out from under the front seat. Then, taking her by the hide and the throat, I wadded her up and slung her onto the towel, tweaked her nose and commanded her to STAY. She did. Celeste looked from me to O, and finding no sympathy anywhere, apparently decided it was better to pass the time on the towel. I had toyed with the idea of opening the door and shoving her out on the Pan American highway, but the moment had passed and we were on our way. The joys of dog ownership.
By this time, we had been on the road for about an hour and reached the outskirts of Lima. Celeste had fallen blissfully asleep on the towel and O was deftly dodging potholes and other escaping motorists, oblivious pedestrians in the street, and dogs in search of garbage for breakfast. The outer edges of Lima are not well maintained. I coughed and gagged and drifted in and out of various states of consciousness, unable to stay completely awake. Even the usual dangers of taxis, cars without head or tail lights, people crossing the highway without looking, or the tour buses that threatened to move over on top of us couldn't keep me awake. I slept at various times, dreaming of a comfortable towel to curl up on instead of being strapped in by a merciless seat belt. By 9 am, I took my first breath of uncontaminated air and woke up, partially refreshed. We'd broken free of the confines of Lima and crossed into the desert.