The other day, while on my way to meet up with my super-awesome sister-in-law, Randi, with plans to tag along with her and participate in my first ever cookie exchange, the strangest thing happened…
Well strange by my apparently somewhat sheltered city girl standards anyway.
I was alone in my car driving down (or would it have been up?) Highway 34 (just past 360th Street) toward Carson from Malvern when I saw something that seemed rather odd in the not-too-distant distance. While it didn’t appear to be a car or vehicle of any kind, I wasn’t quite sure at first what it was. But whatever it was, it was definitely in my lane and coming my way fast.
Thinking maybe it was just something or someone passing something or someone else, I looked to the left of it and in the other lane there was a caravan of vehicles all bunched up beside and behind it, moving slowly, sort of like a funeral procession. I was perplexed.
I glanced back and as it continued getting closer, I realized it was a horse.
A fucking horse!!
And (damn it) it was coming right at me! If having a horse galloping full-speed-ahead into the direction of my front bumper wasn’t bad enough already, no one was riding it. I didn’t know what to do. So I slowed down and eventually came to a complete stop right there in the middle of the road. Then I did what I think anyone in my position would have done: I closed my eyes and hoped for the best. And in the event that the horse had exceptional hearing or was taking subliminal requests, I whispered the words, “Please jump!”
When I opened my eyes, the horse was in the other lane passing me.
Feeling happy that it hadn’t actually attempted to jump over me, since in retrospect it may have miscalculated and crashed through my sunroof, I removed my foot from the brake and, with my heart still beating out of my chest, pressed gently on the gas pedal and speed dialed my husband.
He and I talked for a few minutes and I eventually calmed down as he casually said things like, “Welcome to Iowa.” After assuring him that I was indeed fine and so were the five dozen homemade baby cheesecakes I’d been transporting, I told him I loved him and hung up the phone.
But then, mere (not mare… get it?) minutes later, before I had the chance to fully relax, something else happened. I spotted deer (plural) darting across the road ahead of me.
I’m not going to lie. I was a bit startled by them at first, having heard horror stories about deer-in-headlights type accidents and having seen my fair share of Allstate Mayhem (I love that guy!) commercials. But still I felt confident that I could handle the situation. Shit, I’d just survived my first potential head on horse collision! Compared to that, this was just Bambi (or Bambis?).
Besides, I’d been warned about this. My husband and practically every other member of our family and close friends had been warning me since we moved here about the dangers of deer this time of year. And they taught (or at least told) me what to do if I happened to encounter one (or in this case, about eight or so).
No problem. I got this! After all, I’m an Iowan now. So I simply slowed down (again), put on my hazard lights this time, stayed as alert as possible and carefully watched back and forth from side to side for more deer. Easy-peasy.
It wasn’t scary. On the contrary, it was beautiful. What I got was the equivalent of a front row center seat as these delicate, majestic creatures jumped one by one clear across the road and darted off into a field. It was probably one of the coolest, most peaceful experiences I’ve ever had while driving.
Well… That was until I saw the white pickup truck coming from the opposite direction screech to an abrupt halt onto the side of the road. The truck had stopped so fast that I thought for a second that maybe it had hit one of the deer. Suddenly, I was concerned for the driver and any potential passengers, as well as the deer. But my concern quickly morphed into pure panic when two men in bright orange vests flung open the doors to the truck and jumped out wielding weapons. Before I could think or even blink, one of them ran into my lane, waved his gun in the air (like he just didn’t care) and immediately opened fire!
Are you effing kidding me, Iowa?
For the record, he missed. And for obvious reasons I’m totally relieved.
So we’re clear, I don’t stand on either side of the gun issue. Americans currently have the right to bear arms and, while I choose not to do so (and certainly not without the correct bra), I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s rights or strike up a debate. Don’t get me wrong. I’m no fan of violence and I adore cute furry things with faces just as much as the next gal, but I also occasionally like to eat them. Sorry. And, that said, I’m grateful to farmers and hunters and all other people who get their hands dirty so that I don’t have to.
But even though I have no personal, political or moral dilemma or issue with hunters or guns, I’d prefer not being shot by one. So if you enjoy hunting and/or if you’re planning to shoot a gun for any reason, please spare me the details and (for the love of God) aim that thing away from my face.
This was not my first time in the presence of an overly anxious, obviously desperate dude with a gun. I don’t mean to brag, but when I was 17-years-old, I got held up at gun point. That’s right, bitches. I apologize; I’m not sure what just came over me. That bitches comment just felt right in the moment. Anyhoo, I was a freshman in college at the time, working the register at a Wawa (if you’re unfamiliar, it’s kind of like a 7-11 only better) in Philadelphia.
It was right smack in the middle of the day, during the dinner rush when a man pointed a gun at me and told me that if I gave him all the money in my drawer, then he wouldn’t shoot me in the face. Once I pushed past the panic and remembered how to open it, I gave him the entire drawer. It and the sum of its contents were not worth my face or my life.
In case you’re wondering, I did not see my life flash before my eyes that day, nor did I have any sort of out of body experience, probably because I had zero plans of losing my life that day over a drawer full of hoagie money. Nope. Not me. Sure, I was scared beyond comprehension. I was only 17. But I managed to refrain from passing out, throwing up or shitting my pants.
And despite my latest Iowa encounters with the runaway horse, deer and even the overzealous hunters, I did none of those things the other day either.
I admit that I briefly considered running over the dude with the gun just to teach him not to phuck with a Philly girl. But I quickly thought better of it. I know better than to antagonize an armed and possibly intoxicated a-hole.
So I opted instead to speed up and give him a friendly Iowa wave (and not just my favorite finger) as I passed him and his buddy as-quickly-as-possible. I needed to get on my way. Like I said, I had a cookie exchange to get to.