Sunday, October 28, 2007


In Which I Escape Being Eaten By A Bear

So as most of you know, I live in the woods. Not right in the woods, I mean there are a few houses and there's a paved road, but out back of me there's quite a lot of forest and there's some over the street and we're in no way in the middle of the urban sprawl.

And there are animals here. A family of deer eat my side yard on a regular basis, I've seen a coyote, there was a big raccoon rumble at the end of the drive a couple weeks ago, that sort of thing.

On Tuesday night as I was getting ready to go back to work, I packed my two shoulder bags and toddled out the door. I got most of the way to the bus stop and then realized that I'd forgotten my purse. Not a biggie in the grand scheme of things, but all of my money was in there and I like to buy a newspaper and a bottle of Coke to get me through the night, so I turned back around and headed back for the house.

When I got back to my street I was walking along with my head down, thinking about how I'd likely miss my bus but it wasn't a big deal because I'd still be on time if I got the next one, and how stupid I was to leave the purse at home and so forth.

I wasn't paying attention to anything at all when all of a sudden two men started shouting at me. It took me a few steps before I realized they were yelling, "come back this way, there's a bear!" I looked up and about maybe 30 feet or less away from me, sure enough, a black bear was standing in the middle of the road. Right at the end of my driveway.

If they hadn't yelled I likely would have walked right past it, into the house, gotten the purse and headed back for work without even knowing he was ever there.

Anyhow, I looked up and said to myself "oh yes, there he is" and then turned around and walked back up the street to where the men were practically peeing themselves. They had two big dogs with them, lovely big dobermans that looked like purebreads purebreds (edited to placate the typo-pouncers). The dogs were pacing about, sort of excited about the bear and the yelling, and sniffed at me a bit. I said thank you to the men, and stated that I hadn't even seen the bear but that he'd been here before.

They said "HERE?? On THIS street?"

I said "Yes, of course, we're in the woods and animals live here and he's been here for ages. He was eating the garbage across the street last week and he likely came to see if they left it out again; bears will always check back twice more when they've eaten somewhere once."

I could tell they weren't from around here, both by the fits that they were taking over the bear and the fact that they were smoking American cigarettes.

They looked at me as if I'd grown an extra head and said "aren't you scared?" I said "No, I'm more worried about meeting strange dogs and men on my street than I am about our bear."

They told me the dogs were ok, and that they were here shooting a movie (we get a lot of that around here). They went on to talk excitedly about the bear, with the poor animal getting larger with every telling. By the time they were done with it, they had somehow rescued me from death and dismemberment by a Kodiak or something.

It was just a small black bear.

The bear was still standing in the street and so one of them got in their car and drove it towards the bear to scare it off the street.

He came back and said that he had scared it away and it had gone north. I said that it had gone into my side yard but I thanked him for getting it off the road. They asked if I was still going there and I said of course I was, I had to get my purse for work.

They looked at me again and said "You're really not scared, are you?" And I said no. I could feel their testicles shrinking as I spoke, as they were both completely terrified of it.

Then one of them apologized, because they had thought they were saving me. It was really kind of them, but also sort of funny.

I said I was going to go get my purse now and they said "We'll be right here, if it's there scream really loud and we'll drive down again." As if I wouldn't scream fucking blue murder if it was on my porch. I'm not scared of it but I don't want to meet it any closer than I did that night. It's just looking for food so it can bulk up before it goes to sleep for the winter and black bears aren't usually particularly aggressive. Nor are they carnivores. But yeah, if it was on my porch I'd holler.

Anyhow, I got my purse, got back to the bus stop and sure enough missed my bus. I was on time for work but only by two minutes instead of my usual 30.

But at least, you know, I didn't get eaten by a bear.

Honey, when there are no bars between you and it, there is no such thing as a small bear. (This from one who lives in the north woods, too, but who has 2 large dogs, so the bears bother my neighbors' bird feeders rather than mine)
Too bad Anne Heche wasn't handy. You could've fed her to it.
My dear, your attitude is spot ON. Black bears are *almost* never aggressive (and when they are, there's a problem: cubs nearby, an infected bullet in it somewhere, &c). As long as you're standing UP, you can shout and wave your arms and they'll decide it's not worth it. Awfully glad the dunderheads didn't leave go of the dogs, which COULD have resulted in a dust-up of some merit. I'm a pretty high-level arctophile with a respectable library on bears of all sorts (would you believe, it started with Paddington?) so I feel qualified. Yeah, guys and dogs generally are MUCH scarier than black bear.

PS - Can come to visit? You know, like during the summer or fall?
Yep, men and dogs are nearly always more dangerous. Especially the movie making sort. Glad they didn't terrify the bear too much.
You could give lessons on how to emasculate without scissors!!!!Whoot!
awesome! The story, the experience, but perhaps most in line with my perverse need to explore the ridiculous - the scene of two shaking men wondering with that unique awe that they get when they are in the presence of feminine strength...
Oh, I just can't help myself... the dogs were 'purebread'?...

I was on a pack trip (I was working) in the Absaroka Mountains and had just gone off a little ways, water a bush, had just gotten back on the path and looked the opposite direction and 'well, hello' to a black bear... we stood and looked at each other for a few minutes then it turned and headed the other way and I went back to camp, I was more surprised and pleased than scared.

Have you been able to get in contact with your 'ex' yet? I've been sending good thoughts for this to come about...
Living in the mountains of Colorado has sort of given me a sort of warped view on what "dangerous" animals are. Stupid little men..
But if you had been eaten by the bear, at least you would have had a good excuse for being late to work...
Hardy-har-har. Well, you would have been a tasty rabbit for that bear...
Sheesh. Even in Portland, someone has the occasional meeting with a black bear... With Forest Park's umpteen thousand acres smack dab in the middle of the city, it's still used as a migration route by bear and deer. Ok, so down here if one gets treed on a telephone pole, people usually call Fish & Wildlife to take it somewhere up on Mt. Hood or such, but you know--they don't tend to freak.

I'd be more worried about the men and dogs too!
I always say, better late than eaten!
that bear is probably just waiting til you're marinated again, don't you think? your story reminds me of a great scene also featuring stupid men (and wildlife) in Terry Tempest Williams' amazing book Refuge .... I'm glad you were neither eaten nor late.
I'm very glad you didn't get eaten by a bear!

You are a fabulous story teller, Rabbitch, have you ever thought of doing it somewhat professionally (i.e. for some moola?). I think you would quickly become in high demand.

charlizeen at yahhhhhhhhhhhoo
So, would you be qualified to answer the age-old question about bears and woods?
Now I was born and raised in a dense forest but never saw any bears; only deer, raccoons, possums, and armies of squirrels. But if I ever saw a bear, I would likely pee myself because oh jesus where's my camera?!?!?!?!?!111/1/oneslash.
omigod i woulda paid money to have been there, just to watch those boys freaking out while you maintained that calm in the midst of chaos that you're so good at. And to see that look in your face as you laughed at them. brilliant!
Thank you for attempting to teach the goobers about nature and how we have to share. I am surprised they hadn't already shot it and dragged it through the streets to show their triumph over the evil creature. Sigh.
Oh yeah, and I'm glad it didn't eat you. o.0
For the record, I kinda like "purebread."
Funny story, glad you were there to protect the menz from the big ol' scary bear.
There is a very funny section in "A Walk in The Woods" by Bill Bryson where he talks about brown bears and black bears. With one, you climb a tree because it can't climb; with the other, don't climb a tree, because they're very good climbers.

He says, my God, would I really be able to tell the difference when looking right at a brown or black bear? Oh well, I'll just be dead.
not to get off topic, cause that WAS a fantastic story and i do hope those poor boys' testicles have descended again, but i was just wondering if you had heard from the ex yet. i like to see my loose ends tied up, and he's actually been a bit in the back of my mind since i read your post. what can i say, i'm a worrier by nature :)
I've been camping in far too many parts of your country and mine to pee myself at the sight of a single adult black bear who is a ways away and ignoring me. A bear cub, on the other hand, scares the crap outta me because I immediately assume I must have got between it and the mamma. And the one time I saw a grizzly in the wild, let's just say I was mighty glad to be downwind with him heading the other way. Very well-told story!
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