For over five years now, I’ve thought of Julia as Liz’s cat. Moving to Amsterdam officially made Julia our cat. She’s adorable. She’s soft. She can be very sweet. She’s also a cat.

I’m a frail thing. I grimace, occasionally groan, and act like I’m being disemboweled when I travel (think Bill Wallace at the end of Braveheart). Julia on the other hand, is so much worse. I might get gassy in a car, but I have a firm don’t shit myself policy. Julia sneers at my restraint. I do my best not to piss on trains. Julia cares little for my discretion. I rarely lay down in my own vomit on the subway. Julia thinks I’m a pussy. Julia is not made for traveling.

"You're a pussy, Marc!"

As it happens, Amsterdam is far away. As it also happens, Liz and I are gluttons for punishment and are taking Julia with us. Instead of a one hour drive for Julia to empty her innards, we’re giving her a nine hour window. I know, brilliant idea. So after dodging some tears while saying goodbye to my mother, I was thrilled about driving to Boston with Julia for our flight.

A well-behaved Julia. The van not smelling of feces. “Liz, is Julia dead?”

Kalmeringsmiddel must mean “success” in Dutch. Actually it means “sedative.” It turns out Julia’s a pretty good traveler as long as you drug her to within an inch of her life. She’s still needy and aloof, but that’s how cats operate. Our pile of hair and flippancy was reduced to a barely lucid, drooling mess. Joy! And don’t take that as sarcasm, not tending to an incontinent cat is joyful.

My dreams of stowing Julia under the seats and forgetting about her crumbled as the meowing started. Granted, the meows were drunken and slurred, but Julia’s inner awful-traveler shone through. Petting was the only way to keep her damn mouth shut. And, most of the collisions she had walking through the airport were completely unintentional.

I spent the first hours of the flight transfixed by Bradley Cooper’s baby blue eyes in Limitless, while petting Julia. I ate my questionable chicken and sweet potatoes with more than a dash of cat hair. I fondled some strange girl’s foot, which has nothing to do with Julia. I continued to pet her while debating with myself whether America thinks Vin Diesel is actually in good shape in Fast Five, and how it must feel to know your career is destined only for sequels. I pet her for about six hours with a cramped hand jammed into a pet-carrier simply to avoid her potentially being a bitch. Every meow or slight movement was the harbinger of cat shit. All this hassle and she could hardly stand up. Parents traveling with children should A) not do it and B) get an award. The things we do for people we love is pretty stupid sometimes, but I guess stupidity can have upsides. I mean the cat thing, Liz, not Amsterdam.

The very loose and long-winded point I’m making here: Do you think Bradley Cooper would be my friend? En, kalmeringsmiddel is heel goed.


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