I live about a mile and a half away from my job. Until recently, I didn’t own a car and so I would walk. Being from Montana, this would mean getting there through 3 feet deep snow, tropical storms, blazing hot summer days, and wind that could blow a house over. Now I may be exaggerating slightly(not about the snow) but those twenty minutes would be the worst twenty minutes of my life.
I also work weird hours and would sometimes be walking home in complete darkness at 1 in the morning. One afternoon, while I was enjoying the music playing from my iPod, I scanned across a large field that separates residential housing from businesses placed on the outskirts of town. A thought ran through my head as I gazed over the field ,”What would I do if there was a bear out there?” (For those of you who aren’t familiar Montana bears appear everywhere. Several have meandered onto campus a few times. So the chances of a bear being in the field is very likely). Many thoughts raced through my head as I imagined one of the scenarios taking place. I laughed it off and continued home.
The next night, I was again walking by the field, this time though at 1 in the morning. I was looking at my iPod trying to find a song I wanted to listen to when I heard a rustling. I looked up and there in the middle of the field was a large black mass. I stopped dead in my tracks. A freaking bear was only a few yards away from the trail. Still frozen I tried to remember what to do in case of a bear attack. Stop, drop, and roll.. oh wait that’s in case of a fire. Lay down and pretend your dead, right? Right before I was about to lay down my eyes started adjusting. I sighed a huge relief and then started laughing uncontrollably as I realized my mistake. The ‘bear’ was actually a large shrub growing in the middle of what was supposed to be a really flat field. I pretty much laughed the entire way home happy it wasn’t a real bear and also thinking about how big of an idiot I was to think it was a bear. Every time I passed the field, after the incident, I would always chuckle to myself and how we can play our own mind tricks.
So I know the title says “When Creatures Attack”, I am actually getting to the story… I promise…. but I first had to explain my relationship I had with this field.
It was a few months later and the sun’s rays were beating down on me. I was hot and sweaty (not a good way to start work especially when you have to look presentable). Usually, I avoided the field afraid I would get tangled or pricked in the long weeds. But for some reason that day I decided to take a short cut consisting of me walking across it. I could practically feel the A/C waiting for me as I spied the building across the way.
I started my trek and, as before, listening to my music. I was almost there when I looked up from my iPod. Only a few more steps. I looked back down as I placed my right foot. There, literally, touching my shoe was a prairie dog. I stopped, terrified because it had surprised me. We both looked at each other wide-eyed. It seemed like minutes but it was merely a second. Before I knew it the thing lunged itself at me. Over and over again it tried getting up my leg. All I could do was scream and jump up and down. As fast as it began it was over. The thing took off and there I was, alone, standing in the middle of the field.
I looked over to find construction workers staring at me. To them, I probably looked like an idiot girl screaming for no reason…how embarrassing. I quickly made my way inside relieved to get some cool air.
“How’s it going?” A co-worker asked.
“Well, I just got attacked by a prairie dog. How about you?” I laughed.
So now I can say I’ve been attacked by a prairie dog (I bet you can’t). What a weird creature to be attacked by, right?