Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lessons from the Road: Don't Approach the Bison

When I was younger my mom took us to this farm in the country where goats climbed into tree houses. (I wish that sentence made me sound less like a Teva-wearing flower child, but alas…) It was a wonderful place filled with talented livestock and we ended up coming home with a bunny. To keep the story short, the chronology of Aurora Thumper’s life with us went something like this...

she came, got got fat, she ran away, our neighbors found her two days later, and we offered to let them keep her, they did. The end.

For the two days that Miss Thumper was hopping her obese bunny body around the neighborhood, she was the wildest animal that had graced our part of the city. I live in a place where deer are exotic and when a rabid raccoon falls out of a tree foaming at the mouth, my first instinct is to go over and say hi to the wittle fella. So embarking on a road trip that takes me through the wild western wilderness might as well have been a safari.

I committed to keeping a strict catalog of each animal that we saw along the way. But if the Squirrel Incident of 2001 was any indication, I have absolutely no idea how to interact with wild animals. Hind sight tells me that I have more in common with the people who lose limbs from trying to pet alligators than with Sacajawea. But the best thing about hind sight is that it allows me to look back, reflect, ponder, analyze, muse, stew, ruminate, contemplate, mull...and I digress.

My findings:

Buffalo should be left alone. They can run 30 miles per hour form a dead stop and their horns are not small. So if one sees a buffalo on the road, one should probably not get out of the car and try get a close-up of its flaring nostrils.

Prarie dogs, cute little guys who look a lot like Timone’s chubby younger siblings, should not be picked up and adopted as pets. Not unless you want to catch a modern strain of the BUBONIC PLAGUE. (Hey, modern medicine, I have a question. How the hell is this disease still around? I get that it’s affecting small, ground-dwelling rodents, but stillll. This is the twenty-first century and I, for one, like to think that I can go about my day without worrying about things like the black plague, scurvy, and getting raided by pirates.) So ignore their coquettish looks when they poke their little heads out of their holes. Don’t be fooled by their cute, furry bodies that look like they would fit perfectly in the crook of your arm. They are infected little demons just waiting for a chance to spread a global epidemic.

Six days into my trip and I’m pretty thrilled to be alive. Thrilled to not have a trampled body or a deadly bacteria growing inside of me. So there's that.

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