"What a waste," he said, a stern expression in his handsome hazel eyes. "We have a perfectly good stereo with an iPod dock and you don't even use your iPad. You are a conspicuous consumer."
"Now, Possum," I replied, "I was just having a little fun. These are unusual, creative products. I don't want to own them, but you have to admit that they are cool, and I thought people would enjoy seeing them."
"Well, maybe. But why waste your time talking about things you don't even want? What fun is that? You people don't really know how to have fun, do you? You don't even know what you should want," he said.
From the agitated whipping of his tail, I could see he was riled up about something.
"Okay, Possum," I said. "Tell me what I should want."
"THIS!" he squeaked, scrolling my trackball* down Anthropologie's "Hobbies & Leisure" page to the Limited Edition Rickshaw. I read:
While on a trip to India, some of our team flagged down a rickshaw for a spur-of-the-moment tour of the town. Inspired by the ride and feeling a bit whimsical, we decided to design our own set of wheels, with some very special touches like a collapsible kantha-fabric canopy, handlebar streamers, a bell for brrring-bringing on the bike path and even a headlight that illuminates when the pedals are cranked. An instant conversation starter on the road or on display, we'll bet you're whisked away on the adventure of a lifetime once you hop on - or into - our quixotic carriage. No two are exactly alike.Nothing of the like has been seen on the streets of Back Bay — that's for sure:
I said, "I imagine that you're imagining that I'm the chauffeur and you're the pampered occupant, right?"
"Of course," he said. "My legs are too little to reach the pedals or I'd be happy to take turns."
We took in all the details of the photos. "Look at those nice streamers on the handlebars, and the garlands on the wheels...." he said, dreamily, and I knew he was imagining batting at them.
"I do like the upholstery and all the painted detailing," I said. He pointed out that the drawer under the seat could hold "emergency" supplies, like kibble and a litter box. "For longer trips, like up to Maine," he said.
"But, Possum," I said. "Won't you feel conspicuous, riding around Boston in that?"
"People will get used to it," he said. "They are used to those tricycles, and that man who hollers all the time as he rides his bike. Boston has an excellent climate for cultivating elegant eccentricity. Plus, this isn't just for me, you know. There's room for all four of us cats on that seat. Snalbert and Snicky could use a pleasant airing at their ages. I'll just blend in with the crowd, and I promise I won't smack anyone unless they really deserve it. And if you're still worried about looking conspicuous, we could all wear motoring goggles and dusters as disguises. Even Wendy will like it, I think. She can hide in the drawer.... the adventure of a lifetime...."
I have to admit that Possum's idea is a clever one, and I wish I could indulge him. But the rickshaw costs $2,200 and even if we could ever afford that, we'd have nowhere to park it safely. (Who would be dumb enough to steal it, though? It wouldn't be difficult to spot anywhere in Boston.)
I told Possum that, unfortunately, he was going to have to see if Santa Claws thought he deserved such a fancy conveyance, and I could tell by his unhappy expression that he knew he didn't stand a chance. Poor Possum.
*If you have a computer-loving cat, I recommend the Kensington Expert Mouse. Furry paws find a trackball easier for navigating than a touchpad or ordinary mouse. And if they manage to knock the heavy ball on the floor, they've got an exciting new toy.