When I was little my mother wouldn't let hunters do their hunting on our land. Back then I figured that was strictly because she couldn't stand the thought of something being killed on her property, on her watch. Now I understand that a big part of what drove her to go charging up the ridge, into the forest, to ask hunters politely to leave, wearing earth tones, risking her own life, was that we kids were always running around on that ridge, wearing earth tones.
So, I come by it naturally when I say I don't like hunting. I don't know what it's like to go hunting, but I know I don't want to go because it's everything terrifying wrapped into one experience. Waking up early, trudging off into the cold, sitting perfectly still for hours waiting for... something, loud noises, carnage, heavy lifting, and all to produce a rotting corpse I now have to deal with in a time-sensitive manner. I don't care much if other people want to hunt, I just don't want it to impede my life in any way. I never had any problem with deer. They never seemed to have a problem with me. We were coexisting perfectly, better than most humans and me even. And now this:
We pulled into the driveway the other day and were met by what I interpreted to be a gang of angry punk/grunge adolescent deer standing around trying to look bored and offended at the same time. It was like if deer replaced every album cover from the '90s. They barely lifted their heads. I don't know if there's a poppy plantation nearby where they gather but it's the only thing that makes sense. That or they're organizing.
I was so stunned at their total denial of my entire existence that I actually found myself kind of like, "Hey, deer, uh, these rules were made thousands of years ago, how DARE you stand there in MY way. When I come YOU go, that was the agreement." I was shocked at their audacity and at my reaction to not being considered enough of a threat to their existence to even meander out of the way of the car. They clearly have no idea what I am capable of. As I said before, I still would never kill a deer, but in return, I WOULD appreciate some acknowledgement from the deer of the grace I'm giving their piddling little existence. I'm a MAN! As in, I'm a woman but it sounds better to say "man" when declaring your person hood in front of any sort of obstacle.
I was equally miffed and intrigued after this stare-off and wanted to test them right back, because that's what you do when you find yourself feeling those two emotions equally. So, I waved my arms from inside the car. Blank stares. I actually opened the car door, got out of the car and yelled "Hey, DEER!" A few kind of looked at me like they'd be looking at me while lighting a cigarette, "You sure you want to do this, Slick?" Damn right. So in a display of the most boldness and confidence and superiority I've given in at least a decade, I came from where I was standing behind the car door and marched right up to them. "Hey, DEER!" Looking behind me at Justin still seated in the car. "This is amazing!" I tried to look as menacing as I could, as I felt my bravery slowly crumbling into mere bravado. I raised one arm like it was a gun. It's stupid, I know, but I couldn't back down now, I had to do something. I continued my calculated march with my arm-gun, head kind of tilted like I might be looking through a scope or aiming. Whatever I was doing, just take my word, it was really dumb, but at the time I felt like it was incredibly cool. Before I got within arms reach of the mob I started clapping and they finally skittered off into the back yard, which is where I last saw them, where they probably still are, building a bigger, nicer house behind me to make me look more ridiculous.
So, if only in the interest of maintaining our dignity as MEN, and women and children, infants and infirm alike, someone take some of these deer out. Let 'em start hunting with machine guns and grenades. Otherwise I'm liable to just drift off into the woods in shame and let them move on in because what possible value can a person be if you can't even make deer acknowledge you? Sorry Mom, the world is moving on, changes are afoot, it's a free for all down here.