Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

Black cat sighting sign of good things to come

By Graham von Carlowitz, Opinion Editor

Walking home from class the other day, I happened upon a black cat. Now, I should first mention that Frank (I name cats as a hobby) half-assed the superstitious look by sporting faint gray stripes, but I was convinced nonetheless of his spooky significance when we locked eyes.

I felt no sharp pang indicative of immediate bad luck, but rather a sense of familiarity, as if Frank has had his eyes on me this entire semester. Bad luck had even struck me earlier that day by handing me a dead car battery and laughing at my pain. Frustrated, I tried to drown out some warranted f-bombs with my car's horn, only to realize that the joke of a car was so dead, even its pathetic excuse for a horn had given up.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate my car, one that gets me from A to A.5, close enough to B that I can walk the rest of the way. But I've had a semester's worth of automobile hell and have no doubt earned the right to speak of my car as I would my cataclysmic joints, which mirror those of an 80-year-old failed gymnast.

In January, when I first bought the 2002 Saturn from my pops, he merely assured me that it functioned. What else could a college kid ask for?

Well, to begin with, a functioning starter - not like the disconcerting name waiters give to an appetizer, but the part of a car that spins the engine, that "starts" the engine. Not two weeks into the new semester, I found myself stranded in a parking lot with a busted starter. After a quick cry, I called the tow truck man, who didn't take well to sarcasm.

"I dare you to try and wriggle my car off the back, you up for it?" I said.

"Ah, well, you know I can't do that man, you crazy?"

Well, sort of, yes. But, looking back, I half-wish he had been crazier and sling-shot my car into the nearest ditch, where it would try to decompose for the remainder of its disappointing existence. Alas, the annoyingly sane tow-truck driver delivered my cruddy car to safety (a garage), where it received a fresh start(er).

For a while after the repair, my Saturn orbited the streets without issue, save for my horn that resembles the yelp of a dying duck.

My duck horn came into play about a month later, in March, when I was forced to alert fellow car-drivers that my brake pads were but the dangerous density of a few tissues. "No worries," I thought, "I'll just scoot by for a few months more - until school lets out - and scrap the piece of crap for metal."

But "no worries" doesn't cut it when lives are at sake, so I waited a week while my car was treated.

During that week, I quickly realized walking around was much more entertaining. For starters, walking for me often lends itself to a hilarious sequence of rolling my ankle on the sidewalk curb, ungraciously tumbling into an accidental somersault and recovering, only to discover the geese poop smeared on my pants. Such nonchalant accidents simply don't occur in a car.

Moreover, happening upon a cat named Frank with whom you probably have a telepathic relationship is much easier to come by on foot. Not to say that being in a car eliminates this opportunity, I just struggle to imagine a scenario in which a driver, inching along at tortoise speed, makes eye contact with a cat at all.

Perhaps my car battery's death is to my benefit. Contrary to my initial concerns with Frank, I have decided that the faintly grayed stripes symbolize my progress as a walker who walks away from his car trauma and into the day ahead - probably into a few more somersaults, too.