jetsetgreen

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bears in Midtown!



I was waiting for the elevator to arrive on the 24th floor of the Hilton and talking to a tiny woman who lived on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. “Where are you from?” she asked.
“Utah,” I answered with a gigantic Utah smile.
“Where is Utah?” She looked at me, expectantly.
“Oh you New Yorkers!” I laughed, “You think there’s nothing between New York and L.A.” She just looked at me.
“It’s between Colorado and Nevada,” I answered.
“Oh,” she said.

I don’t think that helped.

“Utah!” I responded to two cute girls, both from New York. It took them a couple minutes to ponder this statement.
“I couldn’t live anywhere,” said Eliana, “Where wild animals could just wander into my house.”
Wild animals...wild animals. I’d never thought of that as a legitimate complaint. I live in a city of half a million people, yet if I drive for 30 minutes, I could encounter a bear. Someone is regularly attacked or killed by a bear, or attacked by a mountain lion about once a year. Rattlesnakes? I don’t think that even makes the news. Probably happens a couple times a week, but only to people who a.) go into the wilderness b.) aren’t listening. I live five minutes from Costco and Nordstrom, but deer eat my plants.

I drew a mini-map for Eliana and Joanne that explained how I lived in a valley between two mountain spurs. “There’s just mountains all the way East until Denver,” I said, drawing little spiked peaks onto the back of a schedule. Eliana regarded me with kind disbelief, secure in the knowledge no elk would stride into her Brooklyn pied-à-terre and start knocking over the baking sheets and making a mess of the vanilla.

In full disclosure, I’ve never seen a bear, and it would take an hour of driving before I would be high enough to encounter an elk, but I think Westerners just live with the awareness that we could. I’ve been bitten by snakes; it’s really not a big deal. Mostly you get pissed off and try to shake the snake off your hand, while your friend gets upset because you could have broken its spine. It’s a SNAKE. It BIT me. When your brother comes home from playing in the sandy foothills with yet another tarantula in a jar, it’s kind of cool. Avoiding a bear attack isn’t hard: don’t sleep next to the food. Believe it or not, a bear isn’t checking the labels when it sticks its nose into your tent; you just smell like warmer, noisier food than the Pop Tarts. The idea that I live close the land is laughable, I really don’t. But I guess compared to Flatbush, I’m in the middle of the veldt.

On the plus side, bears really cut down on the homeless.

31 comments:

noelle said...

i'm so tired of finding mountain goats in my kitchen.

Fig said...

Drive a couple hours into those eastern spiked peaks, and I'll take you to see some bears and elk. And rattlesnakes too, probably.

But really, I'd rather see the 24th floor of the Hilton.

Eliana said...

Haha - love it!!!

But Listen - a bunch of racoons went into my neighbor's kitchen when I lived in northern Manhattan and ate everything she prepared for Thanksgiving. So yes, I stay as far away from wildlife as possible. Thank you very much.

Sign - A City Chica :)

Kalli Ko said...

Let's talk about growing up in Wyoming and how those things really did happen to me... well sort of. There was a bear wandering around our ranch one time and my mom did fill her moose tag within 300 yards of our house which I guess technically was our yard. And how sometimes when I lived in California I'd tell people where I was from and when I said Wyoming they'd ask me where that was and what state that was in.

kiki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kiki said...

This is so funny to me because I was just dreaming on my couch IN UTAH that a rook of crows were in my kitchen eating my cookies and smoking. THAT COULD TOTALLY HAPPEN HERE!!! Except they'd be seagulls instead of crows, and they wouldn't be smoking because seagulls are Mormon. Obviously. (Mormon history)

Laura said...

Best report of Blogher I have seen yet...

Tzipporah said...

"Someone is regularly attacked or killed by a bear, or attacked by a mountain lion about once a year."

That poor person! I'm really surprised the reporters don't just follow him/her around all year to catch the attacks on film! ;)

Azúcar said...

We just figure if they concentrate on one of us, the others will be safe.

Stepper the Mighty said...

LOVE IT!

I wish I could have gone.

Because:

1. You would be a hoot to hang out with
2. you seem to attract people to hang out with who are equally as hooty
3. I do so LOVE New York!

And also - does a tiny outbreak of ants in the kitchen count as a wildlife encounter?

Emily said...

I hear the odds of seeing a yellow taxi in New York are about as high as the odds of being eaten by a bear in Utah so it makes sense.

craftyashley said...

I've never felt like more of a cowboy! Living in the desert- I see wild animals. There are coyotes, snakes, mountain lions, other stuff.
But I do not feel like I live in a Western! There are tumbleweeds- but our streets are PAVED. We don't ride horses to the nearest Target. I can also access a Nordstrom. (I even live close to a Nordstrom Rack- SWEET!)

cyndie said...

Sorry that this has to be what I comment on, but I really had to put it out there that "On the plus side, bears really cut down on the homeless" seems --really-- insensitive and hurtful to me.
Most homeless are not that way because of life choices - the vast majority are mentally ill and not able to make it in a society that cares so little for those who are in need.
I understand that it was a joke, but I take it in the same way I take racist or homophobic or sexist jokes... really (albeit unintentionally) cruel and really not funny.

Joanne said...

Point taken! It was so awesome meeting you at BlogHer! You were definitely one of my favorite attendees.

R--- said...

no cyndie, it's cool. the bears totally eat the gays and HPOA's too.

Azúcar said...

Dear cyndie,
Don't worry, the bears don't really eat the homeless. Bears eat middle-class Americans who have actual homes but choose to spend their nights in the middle of the wilderness surrounded by flimsy nylon and an abundance of Pop Tarts. I wonder who the mentally ill are now.

The homeless--they're safe!

Carrot Jello said...

I'm thinking we need to import bears. We've got a homeless problem, and I'm pretty sure bears are a low cost (and brilliant) way of handling it.
I'll call the Mayor in the morning.

Brett Merritt said...

Studies have shown that only 13-15% of homeless are mentally ill or are homeless long term.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/09/AR2010070902357.html

It seems like middle class americans have a much higher mental illness rate. Especially since many sleep where bears roam or watch "Jersey Shore."

Amy Jones said...

Sorry to divert attention from the slightly intriguing political debate...but you have actually been BIT BY A SNAKE?

(I'm baffled that others missed that little tidbit of information...)

Azúcar said...

I've been bitten three times by snakes.

One of them was two-headed.


(I'm serious.)

Tzipporah said...

Ok, now you HAVE to dish. TWO-HEADED??!?

mama4x said...

I feel that the most crucial and yet unmentioned problem in this post is the frequency of people who don't know where these geographical points are. Utah... Wyoming? Really?!

Vanessa said...

You have the best eyebrows ever, I just noticed that in that picture. Alright sorry what were we all talking about? Bears? Someone getting mad about bears?

冠陳儒 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kate Coveny Hood said...

Where is Utah... I'm often very embarrassed by my dismal geography knowledge - but even if it was THAT bad, I don't think I'd showcase it with such an airhead question.

Loved meeting you in NYC! Thanks for taking some of my favorite pictures of the weekend.

said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
文滢 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jen said...

I had these same blank looks from people when I lived in Boston. People tend to think Utah is near Kansas. I must say I went running last week at 6am and I did see a deer. I guess we really don't think about nature being that close.

Likely said...

Once while in NY I asked for avocado on my sandwich and they said, "where do you think we are, California??"

I laughed. Apparently NY doesn't do avocados on sandwiches.

Heather M said...

I had the opposite problem. When I moved to Montana back to New England and then to Utah. Try explaining to a Westerner where Rhode Island is! Finally I started saying I was from New England. Someone replied, "No, which state, not which country."
***
Maybe that's why all those Utahn's have the extra wives--you need a few to take care of the onslaught of wild animals! :)

Holly said...

Lions and tigers and BEARS! Oh MY!! LOL!!
Well, at least they didn't aske you what # wife you were!! ;p GAH!!