Wednesday, October 27, 2010

One time, EM and I fought a bear.

I started writing this one post about Halloween costumes yesterday and then 1/3 of the way through it I realized it was remarkably whiny and obnoxious because I basically just listed all of the things that bug me about slutty lady costumes. Also, I realized I didn't want to offend anyone and I don't know if anyone who reads this crappy blog likes slutty lady costumes or likes slutty ladies or maybe is a slutty lady, because hey, I'm not here to judge.

Instead, I'm going to tell you guys the story about the time that EM and I went up against a bear and lived to tell the tale.

Most of my family vacations involved camping. My father, an outdoorsman of Bear Grylls caliber, believed that it was important for EM and I to learn important life skills in the event of some kind of natural disaster, so that we could retreat to the woods where the zombies would be less numerous (all of my natural disaster scenarios involve zombies) and carve out a living by purifying our own water, making adequate shelter, hacking at various shrubberies with a machete, and being prepared for absolutely every single thing that could happen. Rain? Snow? Hunger? Headache? Blister? Loss of appetite? Dirty fingernails? Dehydration? Getting lost? We've got it covered. Survivalism flows through my veins, along with Guinness and whiskey and cholesterol.

One of our favorite places to camp was (and still is, I suppose) Sequoia National Park. It's a wonderful and beautiful place with lots of geriatric trees and streams and meadows with frolicking deers and not that many bugs and is a lot less crowded than Yosemite - crowded, also, with bears.

When you first arrive at the park, you'll see plenty of signs posted about bears breaking into cars and that you should properly store your food in the provided "bear boxes" - huge steel things with chains and locks that black bears cannot break into, unless they took some kind of lock-picking course (which would probably be pretty helpful for any kind of person, not just bears, now that I think about it). Some people don't obey, though, and every year there are numerous break-ins and shattered window glass from the cars of people who think sticking their Snickers under the seat will be good enough. This results in the bears associating cars and people with food, and makes them naturally curious about vehicles.On this particular trip, my parents had set up their tent next to the smaller one that EM and I used, probably 4 or 5 yards away from our car. We had followed the campground (and my father's) rules to the letter - all food and dish washing/scented items stowed safely in the bear box, nothing food-like or scented or potentially delicious-looking anywhere around the car, or in our tents - not even cherry chapstick or toothpaste. We were vigilant, because you do not ef with bears.

EM and I zipped up our tent but for a small opening at the top of the tent flap for ventilation, wriggled into our sleeping bags and listened to the sounds of the forest. Crickets, owls, other gross bug-things, the stream by our campsite, weird sniffing noises...

Wait. Sniffing noises?

"EM," I whispered. "What's that noise? Do you hear that?!"

EM's eyes grew wide. "Look outside and see what it is!"

"You look outside!"

We crept to the zippered door of our tent and peeked out of the ventilation hole. Sure enough, standing on his hind legs and peering in the rear window of our car, was a large black bear. He sniffed around the window, then dropped to all fours to amble around our campsite, all less than 6 yards from the non-safety of our flimsy tent.

"DAD!" EM hissed. "DAD! Mom!"

My father grunted in reply.

"Dad!" I whispered frantically, thinking that death was just lurking around and we would all perish from some bizarre bear rampage any second now. "Dad! There is a bear outside!"

EM and I huddled together.

"What?" we finally heard my father say. He chuckled.

"He doesn't believe us!" EM said to me.

"Dad, seriously, there is a huge bear outside and we are all going to die unless you go scare it away!" I hissed.

My father grunted again, half-asleep. "A bear? Hm. Give it my regards," and he rolled over and went back to sleep. My mother said something about making noise to scare it away, and then the only noises we heard from their tent were the steady snore of my exhausted dad.

EM looked at me, panicked. "'Give it my regards!?' I don't want to make loud noises! What if it comes over here to investigate?!"

She had a point. I imagined that if I were a bear, I would be disconcerted and curious about a mysterious blue triangle tent emitting shouts and shrieks. I would haul my bear-ass over and maul it, just because I was a bear. Just because I could.We peeked out of the tent. It was still lumbering around, this time closer to us. Sniffing around our fire pit.

Quietly, cautiously, hesitantly and tentatively, EM stuck her face up against the ventilation hole and whispered:

"Boogie boogie, bear!"

Nothing happened. EM looked at me, pleadingly. I moved closer to our tent flap.

"Hey Yogi!" I said, slightly louder. "I think you should go find Boo Boo and leave us alone!"

EM leaned in close and repeated, "Boogie boogie, bear!"

We both looked out towards where the bear had been. He was gone. EM and I crawled back in our sleeping bags, satisfied that our ferocious caterwauling had frightened away one of nature's apex predators. All until, as we were drifting off to sleep, EM yawned and said, "But what if it comes back when we're sleeping?"

Neither one of us slept a wink that night.


  1. Yikes. Scary. Wonder if bears like slutty, lady costumes?

  2. I believe they do, Chicken. I believe they do.