a little something extra

Monday, August 22, 2005

Good grief! The comedian's...

Those of you without Muppet backgrounds will not necessarily understand that title. But it'll make Colleen laugh.

So. July 16, 2005. The first day of my drive west from Atlanta to the San Francisco Bay Area, where I was going to work for a couple of weeks before coming down to start my new full-time gig in SoCal. I had decided to make the first day my longest drive, from ATL to St. Louis, where some very charming friends were putting me up for the night. That day's drive took me from citified Atlanta through beautiful, increasingly hilly north Georgia and the honest-to-God mountains of Tennessee before depositing me in the heartland. About nine hours of straight driving, plus time for breaks for meals, gas and sanity.

About mid-afternoon, I realized I had been playing unintentional tag with a pickup towing a double horse trailer. I have some friends who ride, so I perked up with interest about the trailer. Sometimes I'd find myself ahead of the pickup, sometimes behind, but the truck was rarely too far out of my sight. However, at **mph (these numbers have been deleted in order to avoid retroactively tempting the highway gods), you rarely notice much detail on the other moving objects hurtling along.

Some time after the pickup and its trailer made themselves known to my consciousness, I was behind them in a traffic pattern that indicated I would soon catch them up. I decided to peek and see what the horse(s) were like.

I started my acceleration with the truck a few hundred yards ahead and one lane over. As I pulled closer, I soon saw that both sides of the trailer appeared to be empty. In the barred upper section where one would ordinarily see graceful equine necks and heads, there were only bars of sunlight. (This was in one of the sunny sections of the day, which occurred between the blinding rain showers. Note to self -- replace wiper blades!)

When I'd reached a spot about fifty yards behind the truck and trailer, I saw an animal bopping around inside. It clearly wasn't a horse; this animal's head would appear briefly in the upper barred space, then disappear again. "Aha!" I thought. "This driver is a very cool pet owner. He or she has put the dog in the trailer, where the dog can happily enjoy the sights and sounds and feel of wind in his/her ears."

Ten yards or so behind, and I started thinking, "Aha. That is one BIG dog. What breed would be that big? Airedale? Nah. St. Bernard? No, wrong coloring -- I don't see the white ruff around the neck. Hrm."

Final acceleration. I began to pass the trailer... and found myself looking out my driver's side window, into the beady brown eyes of a bona fide black bear.


I don't know whether bears enjoy car rides with the same existential joy that dogs exhibit. Nor do I know why the driver would be transporting a bear, though given the need to do so, I certainly (mentally) applauded the choice of transport mechanism and maximum separation of bear from driver. But the bear and its destination certainly crossed my mind a few more times as I crossed the country.


At 3:17 PM , Blogger Wanda said...

I nearly peeeed myself!

At 8:31 PM , Blogger meeegan said...

Sounds like a similar reaction to the one I had to the bear, up close and in person! :-)

At 10:42 AM , Blogger Erin said...

Are you allowed to know anyone who doesn't have sufficient Muppet history to appreciate this title?

At 9:46 AM , Blogger Colleen said...

no he's a-not, he's a-wearing a-neck-a-tie! :) i haven't even read the rest and i'm already laughing! :) love to you and can't wait until uncle alston pays for me to come see you! colleen

p.s. you are so funny, i am forced to laugh


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