One of the things I like about my job is that no two days are the same. And since the landfill where I work is in the middle of nowhere, I get to see a good sampling of wildlife. Not everyone can push back from their desk, look out their window and see wild rabbits in the tall grass or eagles in the sky overhead. Being around nature usually has a calming effect on me, helping to dissolve some of the stress of the workday grind.
I say "usually" because last week I had a nature encounter that wasn't exactly calming. It was near the end of the day and I went out to my car to put my lunch box away. When I turned to go back into the scale house, out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of a black bear. The bear (not pictured, as I had better things on my mind than amateur photography) had just come out of the woods a stone's throw away from me.
The whole encounter may have lasted thirty seconds, but everything seemed to be moving at a snail's pace. I looked at the bear and the bear looked at me. Now, I have never encountered a bear before. Nor have I ever spoken with anyone with any previous bear encounter experience. I have however, as many of you know by now, seen a lot of movies.
What I remembered at that moment was that, according to some movie I can't specifically recall, bears hate loud noises. So it was at this point that I started clapping my hands and yelling obscenities at the bear. At first, nothing happened. I had just enough time to consider that perhaps the information I had gleaned from the movie was incorrect and I was only pissing off said bear. And while statistically, the number of fatalities by black bear are quite low, its likely that few if any of these unfortunate individuals meet their demise clapping like idiots.
Thankfully, within seconds, the bear turned and ran back into the woods. And thus ended my black bear encounter. And while the bear was seen around the landfill site a number of other times that week, it has not been seen in the last several days.
So, if I'm not mistaken, the lesson here is: anyone who says that TV and movies can't teach you anything will likely be eaten by bears.
[Picture stolen from www.voyageurquest.com]