Playing Chicken With Deer

WHAT MAKES ME JUMP OUT ‘O MY SOCKS WHEN I RUN

(actual title)

(that title on top was just to get your attention;)

Every stupid morning my alarm clock makes me run again. It has to. I’m training to trot yet another half-marathon with my brother.

Because I’m so anal, I collect data all day long. Even when I run, I keep unconscious tabs. Here is a list of what I encounter on a typical run:

  • 4 people (walking, same ones every day)
  • 6 cars (flying by at 55 mph, every driver waves)
  • 8 dogs (barking, walking their owners, sleeping on porches, pooping)
  • 10 deer (large, in packs, eating grass)

Seriously, when I run I am completely alone in my head. No one around. Music (Dido, Elton, Alanis, Michael Buble, and Pink Floyd) pumping into my ears (through my old-fashioned foam headphones connected to my 1990 MP3–remember them?) I write chapters. I develop characters. I arrange chemistry lectures. I design chemical syntheses and task lists for my researchers. I wonder what Jonathan is doing.

On my Friday run, two things broke through my 8-mile daydream.

1. A car beeped. I jumped out of my socks. Cars don’t beep where I come from. Everyone is nice. This car was parked under one of those carports. The owner might’ve hit the lock button on his key chain in his pocket from inside his house.

[If a tree falls in the woods, if a car beeps on a country road, if a man is wrong…and there is no woman around to hear it, did it still happen? My running thought paths can be windy (pronounced ‘wine-dee’ as in non-linear (and not like a breeze, though they can be a bit breezy, but would you get it if I wrote ‘can be windy and windy’ or would you think I was repeating?) (Do you see what I mean about windy brain paths?)]

I put my socks back on inside my pink Adidas shoes and continued down the road, quickly re-entering my hypnotic trot.

2. Then I came upon the pack of a few of the deer which I see every day. I didn’t notice them until I was right beside them. They were doing that frozen-deer-so-you-can’t-see-me-dance, and it was working. They weren’t ten feet away and they weren’t scared. Me? Jumped out ‘o my socks again.

“Come on, guys,” I whined as I stopped running and mimicked their stance. “Be afraid of me?”

They held their ground. Only three of them. Ten feet away. Pretending to be statues.

I picked up a rock, tossed it near them, and yelled, “Go!”

One of them twitched. Another bent her head to eat some grass.

Score: Deer 1, Laura 0

I threw two more rocks and managed to make two of them back off a few steps. The third was thinking what I was thinking, “Really? Are you kidding me?”

I picked up one more rock and said, as I tossed it right at her, “Are you kidding me?”

And she calmly turned her back on me and WALKED away.

Final: Deer 2, Laura 0

So, yeah, I throw rocks at (and talk to) deer.

I put my socks back on and resumed my run feeling bewildered. Sometimes (actually, often) in life I stop and wonder how the heck I got here: I lost a game of chicken. To a deer.

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