A few weeks ago I struck out on a random road trip, heading for quiet roads and woods. After a few miles, I started thinking about James, a gentle man, a lanky cat who rode with me out West in 1996. Long story short, a friend mentioned that James needed a ride to California. Without even knowing him, I drove to Ithaca, N.Y., to pick him up. Strange, maybe, but I was fresh out of college and ready to experience anything shocking.