Sunday, September 19, 2010

Not From Around Here

Whether or not you're gonna admit it, we've all had those moments where something uncomfortably embarrassing happens and we desperately hope no one saw it. For example, my jr. high school had a set of stairs at the end of a hallway, tucked back from the main thoroughfare. One day I was on these stairs alone walking to the second floor. And for some reason I slipped, tottered around for a split second, and face planted on the stairwell - body splayed in four directions. Among stair-fall maneuvers, this one was truly epic. Despite the bleeding forehead, throbbing pain in both kneecaps, etc, I remember jumping straight up and nervously looking all around me (pretty sure I even looked at the ceiling) to be sure no one saw me. Thank god no one did and my impeccably cool reputation remained intact (I bet you think I'm being sarcastic but I peaked socially somewhere in 8th grade. I'm mature enough now to admit this).

So it was funny to find myself in a similarly awkward position just one day ago, many many years after the jr. high fall and to realize, I handled it the same damn way. Jer was out of town this weekend frolicking with his college friends and I devoted Saturday morning to long and thoughtful walks around the property. I really wanted to immerse myself in the land. Enjoy the views. Embrace nature. It makes me feel like a legit country dweller for some reason. So there I was with my large walking stick meant to fend off snakes, rogue donkeys, and most importantly, to break up the massive spiderwebs that hang just about everywhere right now. From a distance I imagine the scene would have been quite convincing: Confident rancher walks slowly to survey her land, pausing now and then to lean over and pick up a rock, then tosses the rock. Leans casually on walking stick, then pats a passing cow, totally un-intimidated by its massive horns. She kicks at a cactus. Puts her hand on her hip and shakes a fence post with the other just to confirm it's firmly placed. Basically, she's completely at home in this environment, and possibly was raised in the country: a fearless land owner. She walks forward, and uses the stick to break up a spider web, then keeps on walking. But then she stops suddenly and slowly turns her head to look at the large, black, and shiny thing perched on her shoulder. She does a double take and proceeds to, well, lose her sh*t.

Oh folks, it was a true and total meltdown. Arms flailed, the stick went flying, hands slapped at the back, there was spinning in circles, shaking of the head, jumping up in down - all the while screaming. S C R E A M I N G.

As soon as the horrifically large spider was off my back, I nervously looked in all directions to make sure no one actually saw this incredibly pathetic display. We have land for chrissake! Rattlesnakes, coyote, and horrific spiders are all part of the deal. I knew this when we signed up for the gig. But knowing it and having one of the land creatures on your back are two very different things. Luckily, as with jr. high, no neighbors were present to question my behavior. With them, I hope to always maintain some amount of street cred. But here I have no one to impress. And anyone who reads this little story realizes that while we're not phonies, we're definitely not "from around here" when it comes to country living.

In moments like this I wonder how Dee-you-wayne would handle the situation. What would he do with a spider on his back? Most likely he'd name it "Ol' Black" and keep it as a pet. I just can't pull that off.

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