Don’t meet a dying black cat at 6 am !

Another day waking up at 5:15, on my way to visit a cellular operator in Milan. Despite Benedetta’s Italian coffee cup, I am still half asleep in the car when a black thing in front of my headlights catches my attention. It looks like a cat but is not moving. I stop and go around the car, to find out that it is indeed a cat, probably just run-over by another car in front of me. Still breathing and eyes wide open, with no signs of bleeding, but totally unresponsive otherwise. I take the poor thing as carefully as I can and move it to the side of the road (it feels like carrying a big jellyfish, I doubt the cat still has many bones intact). The cat has a name tag with a phone number, so I call the owner of “Kiara” before proceeding to the airport. The owner is one of these guys who doesn’t say thank you or even seems in a hurry to save his cat.
At the airport, I discover that the flight is a code share, so I’ll fly Alitalia. This means I’ll have a choice between a bag of salty dog food or sweet dog food for breakfast on board.
Arriving in Milan I am thrilled to see that there is almost no wait time for baggage delivery. Exceptionally I took a huge suitcase to bring many kid clothes back to Italy (Benedetta believes only Italian dry-cleaning is safe)… but I don’t see it (It has been marked with a flashy yellow “priority tag” by Air France, but by now I know that this is only to make me feel good that I have so many airline miles, it doesn’t influence actual delivery time by a second). After a while the belt stops… I have lost the big case.
Besides loosing the kid’s clothes, this means more trouble for me as I rely on a GPS to get to the headquarters of the mobile operator… and the GPS car charger is in the lost suitcase. Fortunately the GPS seems charged, so after filing a “Baggage Irregularity Report”, I take my rental car and drive off to my meeting.
After the meeting, I head to Cremona. More trouble comes: the GPS decided to switch back on by itself during the meeting, so the battery is now fully discharged and I’ll have to find my way without it. Then even more trouble comes, the rental car engine fails as soon as I get to the Milan ring. The battery seems to disconnect randomly every 20 seconds or so, stopping the engine and anything electric in the car, even blinkers. Then the inertia of the car allows restarting the engine… until the next stop.
I drive-off to the emergency lane and check the battery wires, but the problem seems more subtle. Having some doubts on the efficiency the rental car assistance service, I decide to try to get back all the way to Linate airport despite the constant stop and restart. At 50km/h with the emergency blinkers on the ring this allows me to perfect my knowledge of Italian insults. After about 3 hours, inclusive of Milan’s famous traffic jams, I finally get a replacement car. With courtesy Hertz tells me that “I won’t have to pay to repair the car” 🙂
I take the opportunity to check the lost&found once again, without luck. It is 7PM, I finally head to Cremona, no GPS, no cellular to warn Benedetta’s parents that I am so late (battery is also dead).
Next time if I come across a dying black cat at 6 am in the morning, perhaps I’ll pay him more respect and miss my flight !

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