Life is unpredictable. Completely, utterly and oh so frustratingly unpredictable. Depending on where you live, there are different types, or definitions of, unpredictability. When I lived in cities or major metropolitan areas, traffic was unpredictable. It could take me fifteen minutes to get to work, or two hours, based on the amount of rubbernecking fools gawking at a traffic stop, or texting on their phones while driving with their knees and the line around Starbucks, which could literally spill out into the street and stop traffic. I hated it. I moved to within walking distance of everything, in a neighborhood called the Kentlands, which literally had the same architect who designed the movie set of Pleasantville. It’s called a neo-traditional new town planning attempt to create a walking space with house centered urban architecture. It made me want to barf, but hey, traffic was suddenly non-existent.
Until I broke my ankle by falling down a set of stairs in Colonel Williamsburg and was relegated to crutches for four months. (My doctor said six, I said screw him. Which may be why I still walk with a bit of a limp. There was also that lack of physical therapy thing.) After losing my temper while trying to navigate the impossibly perfect terrain of the Kentlands on my way to the pool and beating the taillights out of a still-occupied and moving Porsche with my crutches, the occupants of which were total assholes, and totally scared assholes when I was through, my therapist, employers, wife-to-be and lawyers decided it was best if I move. The “Temporarily Insane” defense is amazing.
We chose a little town near Blacksburg, VA, right on the New River, a place so secluded that I can and do pee off my front porch. Without fear of retaliation or public nudity warnings, even though a drone attack could change all that, I suppose. That’s why I keep several hundred twelve-gauge shotgun shells on hand, but I really don’t think that would do me any good, unless I could talk my way into and out of, destroying a lot of government property utilizing the “Temporarily Insane” thing. Which is highly doubtful as now I most likely would just be called legally insane and locked up under that basis. Which would keep me away from my new son, which keeps me from peeing off the porch and shooting drones. Man, life is complicated. Even in the country.
Life can be even more complicated in the country, and traffic can take on a whole new meaning. For example, an entire herd of Longhorn cattle can break through a fence and take their new residence in the two-lane, unmarked road devoid of vehicles in front of my house. Although, I’ve never been more rattled by anything than a flock of Guineas.
I was headed to town, if you can call our little town with one restaurant a couple of outfitters and a general store a town. Which I think is the very definition of a town. I was driving along in my old Ford, minding my own business when a flock of Guineas suddenly ran under my truck. I hit my brakes, slid to a stop, grimacing at the thought of running over one of my neighbors birds. There was no inevitable thump, no shower of feathers, so I was very relieved. I put the truck in park and blew my horn. There were no Guineas in sight, not in my mirrors or anywhere so I was reasonably certain they were still under the truck.
Tentatively, I opened the door. I have very little experience with Guineas but a LOT with chickens, so I am fully aware that birds are descendents of dinosaurs and have very little knowledge that they have gotten a lot smaller during the evolutionary process that began around the K-T boundary. (Scientists, rejoice. I used a nerdism.) I was immediately attacked by the entire flock of Guineas, which after a bit of after-the-fact research, I discovered are extremely territorial and quite mad, in the Alice in Wonderland way. I bolted down the road, realizing as I went the absurdity of being chased by an entire flock of creatures whose combined weight didn’t match mine. I wasn’t really sure about the intelligence level, but they were chasing me, not the other way around. I checked my speed after a hundred yards or so, not really for sure if they were still after me, but certain that I couldn’t run much further.
Considerably out of breath, I ascertained that they had once again gathered under my truck, which was sitting with the driver’s side door open and the engine running. I wondered if they meant to use it as a battering ram then decided I’d watched “Gremlins” way too many times. I gathered a stick and meant to use it as an assault device, or Weapon of Not So Mass Destruction, if you will, but the clever birds simply huddled together out of reach of my stick of choice in the middle of the truck.
So, I regained the main controls of the truck without harm, carefully shut the door, inspected the cab for a stray mini-dinosaur, and slowly placed the gears in Drive. After a few moments I realized that they were simply using the truck for cover for some nefarious deed that they had all planned, no doubt involving an assault on the Treasurer’s Office of Giles County. Which I would have totally supported, but I really didn’t want to explain that the troop of Guineas under my truck were actually in control of the planned assault and I had nothing to do with it.
Very carefully, I sped up. Cringing, dreading the sound of the crunch of tiny dinosaur bones, which never happened. I looked in my rearview mirror to see the clever birds mingling about on the side of the road, eating bugs and chasing one another as if nothing had ever happened. To think, Giles County was nearly invaded by Guineas.
I took another route home. Call me crazy.