You know when you’re little and your parents take you to the car wash for the first time and it’s loud and scary and all of the giant brushes seem like monsters attacking you and even though the windows are sealed it seems like all the water’s going to come in and get you so you get out of your seat and hide on the floor of the car between the front and back seats, tucked as tightly as you can?
Anyway, there’s only one other time I have ever hidden on the floor of the car. Let me tell you about it.
I actually don’t have many details. My family and I were driving. Whether we were at Elk Island National Park or in the mountains somewhere, I don’t entirely recall. All I remember is that we were driving and I wasn’t paying much attention until my dad made a left turn and then slowed down. Then he slowed down more.
I looked up to see what the delay was all about. Because I apparently had places to be.
Have you ever seen a bison in person?
They are immense. Some of them are like, minivan-sized.
Take a minute to think about how scary that would seem to a 5-8 year old kid.
Okay, now multiply it by about 15 because OUR CAR WAS SURROUNDED BY BISON.
They were just staring at us. Like, too calmly. And rather than get the fuck out of there, we were just staring back. (One of my parents was seriously lacking on the reaction time. Either that or I was so petrified that time slowed down. It’s a very distinct possibility.)
Were they going to charge us? Would they leave us alone? Should we attempt to drive forward and part the bison sea, or would it be better to back away as slowly as possible?
These are all of the questions I’m sure my parents were debating at the time. I wouldn’t know because I had taken shelter at the bottom of the car and was holding my eyes shut for what I swore would be the rest of time.
That was the day I learned that bison are some of the most intimidating creatures in the world.