What is Drastic + Dramatic

Sunday, July 18, 2010


(for whatever it's worth. I'm not being deeply inspired lately for any poetry, so I'll just talk about me.)

Okay, now for the Seagull story. I just learned that gulls can live up to 49 years. Dang. Anyway, I'm not sure if this one lived or not. Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start...

Southbound on the Seward highway is 55 outside of Anchorage. I was deadheading (traveling without passengers) so I set the cruise control (so I don't accidentally speed) and kicked back to watch the beauty mosey by. My Tour Director was riding with me, also enjoying the scenery and poking fun at me in any way he could. We were having some great laughs as we passed Potter Marsh, a bird sanctuary for...birds. There was a pack of seagulls flying like teenagers leaving a high school football field after their team just won. I could just hear the bird chatter, "Dude!" "Dude, sweet!!!" "Dude watch this!" et cetera et cetera when two of them suddenly veered sharply toward my coach. I knew before it happened that it would happen. No suspense, just pending dread, the brutal, slow motion countdown.

I also just learned that seagulls usually fly in packs like this. They strategize. They'll even wait for whales to surface and then dive and peck out pieces of flesh. They're conniving and greedy, unafraid...and sometimes stupid.

I'm trying to ease your pain by diminishing your sympathies.

Its buddy veered up but it just opened its mouth and 'spread eagle' belly flopped the front of my coach (below the windshield and above the license plate). It hit me! I looked later and saw white, salty outline of smoosh and some bird poo or barf or maybe a little of everything on the front of my coach. Not surprisingly, no damage.

The thwack was disturbing enough, but , curse my dutiful reflexes, my eyes pointed to my mirrors. On the side of the road a white bird flopped like a fish out of water, trying to...well, fly I suppose. It had no idea what hit it, I'm sure of that, only that it knew it was breathless and not flying, and that pain inside? Shattered ribs? (Those spindly bones you peck clean from dead animals.) The rear view also provided proof of this broodship: the other seagulls were diving and hovering and screaming above its shocked and quaking body. "Dude!" "Dude..." "Dude man, are you okay?"

I felt so bad. I still sorta do. I wish I hadn't looked back. Or forward, when it hit, for that matter. Uhhheh. A coworker told me she saw the broodship display as well as she drove by moments later. Maybe it lived and has sweet bragging scars. Maybe its "friends" "took care" of it.

Teenagers could learn a lot from birds.

On a happier note

Today is Sunday. I packed a skirt this week on tour and stashed the faith that I'd actually get to use it. Sarah Dawn and I waited for a shuttle that didn't come and then decided we'd hitch hike as much as we could from Denali to Healey, AK. We walked, her in saucy high heels and a sleek black dress. (She looked hot, not gonna lie) and me in white flats, white legs and a white skirt for about half a mile before Jim picked us up. He took us about 8 miles to where his kayaks were chillin and then we walked to the nearby Princess wilderness lodge and talked to them about a shuttle. This lovely lady called a guy named Kit. Kit drove us in a motor coach right to church, another 11 miles north. Sweet. We were at sacrament meeting precisely on time (which is to say ten till 7pm, the meeting started a few minutes later). Sarah Dawn also got us a ride home. Something about a roommate's friend. Bryson. He drove us all the way back to our McKinley lodge. Sweet again! I like that I hitchhiked half way to church. :)

This lady that sits in the front seat for my present tour told me I needed to spot a moose for her. I saw three moose...two on the way to church and one as I drove back from delivering a needed bag from the belly of my motor coach to the top of the mountain at the Grande Denali Lodge. That's always how it is. The moose are always in the place where you're not looking for them. It's almost like they know how cool they are and they hide whenever more than ten people are rolling along in great big animal smashing mobiles.

Think about it, though. People come from everywhere just too see moose. People love them so much they'll even settle for moose poo--purchasing it (from whom? Some shmuck that goes out and scoops it up and puts it in a bag with a price tag on it)--as a last resort. Or even as a fond souvenir? It comes in jewelry form, too. Really. Moose get no royalties. They get hit when they cross the freeway instead. And they get even. More people die by moose than by bear. Believe it. If you're out walking or riding a bike and you see a moose, you stop and take pictures and think you're so cool. If you see a bear you get away (unless you're stupid). That's what most people do. They think moose are cute and charming and stuff. They let down their guard. They don't know how to act. Here's how. Basically, the moose just wants you out of its space, so get out of it. Run away, jagged-like. Swift side to side movements frustrate the moose and it gives up. Bears instinctively chase after what's running, so instead, stand your ground and make noise. Bears kinda freak when they see an animal upright on two legs making strange noises and waving their arms. If it does attack, play dead, protect your vitals. If it goes for the kill, fight back. If you don't you'll surely die. Might as well try not to.

I hope I never have to outsmart the big animals around here.

So anyway...that's good for now. I have a tummy ache. buh bye.


Alycia (Crowley Party) said...

hilarious image!

Oertel said...

I never should have read that. I dislike birds (mainly flying over my head because I get pooped on frequently...what IS that?! which reminds me, did you hear about The Kings of Leon concert where they had to cancel because they were POOPED on by pigeons? and did you know I could put poop in a comment three times? just did!). Oh. And I may be going to France. For a vacation. Want to teach me key phrases? Love you!

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