The Executive Vice President
Christopher A. Sawyer
My cat would be an excellent automotive executive. He has the attitude, swagger, and confidence necessary for the task, as well as a well-honed instinct for torturing and killing smaller creatures. As an indoor cat, he lacks recent hunting experience and has his meals delivered. In the automotive world he’d be an executive vice president. That is, he remembers the high points of being on his own, doesn’t understand the dangers, pines for the good old days, and becomes fixated on those things just out of his reach–or on the other side of the window.
Like many executive-caliber beings before him, my cat proved himself to be fearless, intelligent, but not exceptionally savvy. He had to be rescued by a superior who took pity on him, and freed from a trap of his own making. In this case, a tree branch. He was found in a tree next to my girlfriend’s car with a branch caught underneath the bracelet someone had placed around his neck. Sizing up the situation, he cried out plaintively in order to catch her attention. What she found was an approximately four-month old male Bombay kitten with large golden eyes pleading for rescue. A typical transfer strategy from a then-junior executive type.
With two senior-level cats of her own, the chances of integrating a third into the household didn’t look good. Friendly and outgoing to his prospective female roommates, he tried to make friends while evaluating the environment. He’d have to act quickly, stealthily, quietly to turn the situation into one that favored him over the other two cats; a task made all the easier by his status as the new kid on the block. Aware of the stress a new cat would put on the household, a call was made. With any luck, the transferee would be transferred to another division where there was plenty of room for growth. One where the man in charge had no experience with an “employee” of this type, and the physical beauty and charm of the new hire would sweep aside most reservations. The exchange was made.
It didn’t take long before the Eastern Division head was being asked to explain the small being’s mad dashes around the house, scratching, and biting and to reconsider the terms of the transfer. But the Eastern Division wouldn’t take him back. Over the past four year, things have been broken, mistakes made, but a negotiated peace is in place. When not sleeping he’s vying for attention by scratching the furniture or dumping papers on the floor. His meal time comes before the morning alarm, and patience takes a back seat to hunger. As with most actual senior-level executives, he wants what he wants when he wants it–if not sooner.
Disagreements can be ugly, and affection comes on his terms. He shows the greatest loyalty to the one who feeds him, but leaves the impression that could change if the food deliveries stop. Calmer and more reserved than in his younger days, he nevertheless takes the opportunity to show the sharpness of his teeth when he yawns, has ears that follow every movement even if asleep, and tries to intimidate with the stare of the hunter for the hunted.
Bring him a new toy, and the love affair is short. Boredom sets in, and he ignores all entreaties to play with the new item. Leave him to his devices, however, and you’ll see he has more fun with the box than with the toy; though he stops playing the minute he’s caught and walks away with feigned indifference. He’d make a great executive vice president.
The little car that could still can. And this time as a car that not only gets great fuel economy, but which has ride and handling that makes it more than an econo-box (and its styling is anything but boxy).
Although the RAV4 has plenty of heritage in the small crossover segment, competition has gotten a whole lot tougher, so Toyota has made significant changes to the fourth-generation model.
It’s the fifth generation of a vehicle that has been increasing in sales year after year since its introduction in 1997.