Monday, November 08, 2010

It's huntin' season!

Just a quick note before I really get this post started: I actually considered earlier that it was maybe a bad idea for me to write about what I planned on writing about today. Because who am I to make fun of people who live the way the main characters of this post live? That's right: I'm NO ONE.

Does that mean I'm growing up? Or that I'm becoming a boring person? Shoooot. I dunno. You are free to judge me accordingly in the comments! (Not that I won't judge you right back. Just to warn. ;))

Saturday afternoon, Leo and I piled into my car for a little jaunt down to Springfield for dinner and drinks with some online friends I've made through the Dooce Community site. I felt it was only fair to go there to see them, as they've driven long distances for a previous get-together that was held locally here in Kansas City, so off to Springfield we went!

The night before, I had a dream that the drive only took us an hour and a half, and that the meet-up was successful (as they usually tend to be...), and good times were had by all.

Of course, the drive is more like 2.5 - 3 hours for me since I don't drive much over the speed limit, but that's ok. It's a pretty drive, particularly when it's on a nice day like we had on Saturday, so that helps a lot. Also, it's broken down into 3 different sections, which helps a bit. The first section is leaving Kansas City heading south. The second section is when you get off 71 Highway and head toward Clinton. And then the 3rd section is from Clinton to Springfield. It's a 75 mile stretch, but it's not so bad, really.

After we got off 71 Highway and headed toward Clinton, I realized I had to stop for a bathroom break. So we pulled off the highway when I saw a station that seemed to be in good shape. Pulling into the parking lot was a wee bit of a challenge, thanks to the pot holes that were in the gravel driveway, but it was a relatively rural spot, and it seemed like the majority of vehicles around there were trucks, and stuff, so I made my way as carefully as I could. There was a restaurant of some sort right next to the gas station, too. As we pulled in, a couple of guys were getting out of their big ol' truck, wearing full camo gear. Pants, hats, jackets...whole nine yards. I was all, "We're in huntin' country now, Leo!"

No joke, because there were around 3 cars in the gas station lot, and they, too, had people in them that were in various camo gear. I felt a little out of place, but I also had to pee. So in we went. (Not that the camo was a deterent of any kind. I'm just not used to seeing so much of it all in one place. I really, really am a city/suburb girl. What can I say?)

I took longer than Leo, and met him out at the register where he was in line behind yet another dude in a big camo jacket. He was throwing money down and trying to get out the door, but the store clerk called after him, "Hey! I said $1.63. This is only $1.45!" So the guy came back and threw down another quarter after searching his pockets, and then said, "Is that good?" And then scooted out the front door. (Without his change...:/)

I was struck by the fact that he apparently didn't know how to count out change, but Leo was snickering because he had bought some big bottle of malt liquor called "Earthquake", and he had his own judgments he was making internally about the guy. The whole picture was brought together perfectly when we saw the guy head out to help the woman he was with (his girlfriend? His sister? Who knows...she was wearing a matching camo jacket just like his, though) roll back the ATV they were traveling around on so they could get it properly kick-started. It took a few tries. And then they were on their way as we headed back out to our car.

It was just a very colorful illustration of what true country life is like, if you ask me. A quick 10 minutes of life that made me appreciate the little things, like knowing math. And not knowing what "Earthquake" is or what it tastes like.

Later, as we returned home on a dark highway out of Springfield and came across our first deer carcass on the side of the road, I had a different appreciation for those folks in camo clothing way out there in the boonies. And I wished they'd step up their game, dammit! I immediately froze up. Leo made a joke about how much damage something like that could do to us. Sometimes, boys are just stupid, you know? I slowed from the allowed 70 MPH speed to about 60 MPH, and tried to keep from hyperventilating. Leo tried telling me he was just kidding! It didn't matter. It wasn't what he was saying that was getting to me (although it wasn't helping), it was the fact that I drive a car that doesn't technically belong to me now. And the idea of slamming front first into a stupid animal about half it's size wasn't exactly my idea of a treat, dammit! He kept trying to calm me down, and I finally asked him to just. stop. talking.


About 2 miles later, still totally alone on the road in the stretch we were in, we came across what can only be described as a massacre of some poor young deer.


Guys, it was so disgusting, and I was trying to go around the parts, but it was hard to avoid it all, and the entire time Leo was just quiet while I was literally screaming like a cartoon character, is the only way I can think to describe it. And then we finally came upon the actual carcass, which had somehow been pushed off the side of the road. Not that it mattered. I'm pretty sure I drove over/around/through legs, stomach, and other assorted pieces of it prior to getting to the body.

I was quiet for a moment after we passed it, my face frozen into a look of horror that I was finding it hard to relax from. And then Leo, for some reason still thinking he was making things better by talking said, "I'm sure that was from a big rig hitting it, or something." And I somehow found a way to make my voice work as I said, "You need. to. STOP. TALKING. PLEASE."

Every once in a while, I would allow myself to creep back up to a speed of about 65 MPH, but then I'd have a terrible flashback to what we'd just seen 5, 10, 15 minutes before, and I'd slow back down again. And I had to keep my eyes constantly moving, moving, moving across the road while managing to still peripherally scan the side of the road for anything that might be running towards us from the brush. I was clutching the wheel and crouched so hard in my unmoving clenched position that I had to silently tell myself over and over that I needed to relax...I'd have better reflexes if I would reeelaaaaax. But then a few minutes later, I'd find myself all tensed back up again, and have to go through the process all over again.

I felt a little better after we passed through Clinton. We stopped for a bathroom break, and I grabbed a small Diet Coke (fountain! YAY!), and felt a little refreshed and better after successfully traveling a good 50 miles without seeing another deer carcass.

But I can't help but wonder if that damned deer wasn't the reason why I was rethinking my posting about the people in camouflage that we saw. I mean, if that dude can't make proper change, and wants to finish his day off with 40 ounces of some crazy-ass malt liquor or another, I don't truly care. As long as he wakes up the next day, or what have you, and goes out and kills those poor deer in a more humane manner than what we were witness to. That's all that matters to me now. ::shudders::


Fred Sanford said...

It's no accident that the McRib returns every year right at highway deer slaughter season.

I'm jes' sayin'...

faithstwin said...

Oh. Wow. I KNEW there was a reason I stayed away from those things! (McRib sammiches, that is.)

I do remember the time Dad told me about the drive home from Tahoe when Gary hit a deer (or was it Tom?) and it totalled the brand new SUV they were in.

Hitting a deer is no laughing matter. In fact, it sounds like it can REALLY fuck up your car. I do not blame you o9ne bit for going slower.

emawkc said...

You know how I relax while driving at 80 miles per hour through deer country at night? I nice cold can of Earthquake!

Faith said...

Ahahahahaha! Yes, I suppose that might've been a helpful plan, Emaw. Dammit! Next time, for sure.

I think I can blame MM for scaring the bejeesus out of me with his story about hitting a deer a few weeks back, actually. Had I not read that, the spread out deer carcass might've been more funny than anything else.

thedirtyknitter said...

Oh I'm totally with you...I grew up in rural Iowa (so I'm used to all those folks in camo gear - including much of my family)...and most people I know have hit a deer at some point. It's horrible...HORRIBLE! Even growing up and learning to drive the country roads w/ all those deer still never made me "relaxed" about it (so it's not just that you're a "city girl")!

Hound Doggy said...

You were almost in my neck of the woods. I'm about 20 miles north of Clinton. were in serious deer country and redneck country. About everybody I know has hit a deer. I don't know anyone who has gotten hurt. Many broken headlights and bent fenders.
You've got crazy non-blinker-lane-changer people....and others have deer.
Such is life.

Canis Majoris said...

Hmmmm, maybe next time we need to stick to a place along I-70 so that you don't have to drive i the boonies. :)