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  • Jenna Beall

Backseat Driver

Today, I got to work from home.

Work from home usually means an entire hour of extra sleep, a warm mug of coffee enjoyed from the sofa, and working in my bright and happy writer's nook.

Work from home during a kitchen renovation means hunkering down in the upstairs office with a sweet golden retriever and a doped-up dachshund. I tap a Crystal Light energy packet into my water bottle (because I don't feel like trekking down to the basement for coffee) and turn classical music on the Sonos to drown out any construction sounds.

As you can imagine, by the time the lunch hour rolls around, I am desperate for some fresh air.

Today's early afternoon errand involved driving north to Everything But The House. After a months-long search for the most perfect bust to place on top of our piano, I scored TWO of them! And they're dog busts!

I gated Gus off upstairs—so he wouldn't interrupt our contractor and the electrician with his eternal pursuit of pets—and put Dewey in the backseat. Dewey is a bit of a wild man in the car, but a) I didn't want him to bark his little head off while I was gone, and b) he was on doggy Xanax, so how bad could it be?

There was a lot of construction and a lot of traffic on 71N, so I kept my eyes on the road, occasionally checking out Dewey in the rearview mirror.

"What are you doing back there?" I'd occasionally ask, particularly when it got too quiet.

Just as I was changing lanes, Dewey leapt from the backseat and wedged himself between the front passenger seat and the window.

"OH MY GOD! GET DOWN!" I shouted, which was admittedly a tall request for his predicament.

Calm as a cucumber, he shimmied his way forward, landing in the front passenger seat where he believed he should have been placed to begin with.

We survived the remainder of the ride with me holding on to Dewey's harness so he wouldn't jump on my lap while driving. We were also listening to Hamilton, which helped ease any tension.

As I waited in line for my busts (as it turns out, arriving right when EBTH opens is a very popular idea), I imagined all of the awful things Dewey might be doing in the car. Even though the key was with me, I could so easily picture Dewey driving the Corolla away, leaving me stranded with my weird dog busts.

"Look at that little dachshund driving the Toyota!" I could already hear people exclaiming.

As it turns out, he waited without incident, and I set my cardboard box in the front seat to prevent another leaping stunt from the Dew dog.

These are my weird and wonderful busts!

We took the backroads home, which was much more relaxing than the crowded highway.

Nothing like the wind in your hair, I thought, the crisp air and autumn sun feeling like such a treat.

Wait a second. Why was I feeling the wind?

I whipped around and narrowed my eyes at Dewey who was perched on the door's armrest and gazing out the window...which was completely wound down.

My first inclination was to laugh—Dewey had wound the window down! What a character!—and my second inclination was to properly freak out.

Quickly, I reached for the button to wind it back up, but it did no good. Dewey was standing on top of his own button, his paw holding it in place.

Again, initial amusement (what a clever dog!) followed by sheer panic (he is going to die).

"Dewey, come here! Dewey, over this way!" I called for him, as we came to a blessed stop in front of a red light.

All I could picture was Dewey hopping out and running down Kenwood Road, which wouldn't end well for anyone involved.

Finally, he moved his paw, I wound up all the windows, and I pressed the lock feature.

When we drive with the dogs down to Asheville in a few months? Well, I know who will be enjoying the scenery from his crate.

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