Saturday, February 1, 2014

In Which I Am the Cow Whisperer

Crazy Eyed Cow, by Elisabeth with Mood Shift Media, available here.

There was a cow in the road on my way to work today.

I was already stuck behind a couple of private school and/or church activity buses (it actually wasn't clear; they were white buses, which usually means church, but something about them suggested school - but it's Saturday and I feel for any kids who have to do their school field trips on Saturdays and hey look I found something to like about having gone to public school!) that were crawling up and down the hills as though expecting to discover some kind of cliff on the other side.

Or... maybe they were expecting cows.

If so, they were absolutely spot-on.

Anyway, we were already only going about thirty-five miles an hour, a line of us backed up behind these buses, apparently being manned by first-timers who didn't know where the gas pedal was... when the buses slam on their brakes. They seemed pretty confident as to where those were.

As, again, we were only going about thirty-five, we all had plenty of time to slowly coast to a stop.

Then I heard a weird noise.

I blinked.

A weird, familiar noise.

I rolled down my window and heard it again.

Yep, I thought to myself. That's a cow.

This isn't actually terribly unusual for this spot, because there's a farm here that has probably a hundred cows out grazing at any given time. The unusual part was that the sound wasn't coming from the pasture to the left of the road, but directly in front of me.

Where the buses were.

After a long, long, long pause the buses slowly moved on, swerving nearly off the road but... you know, it's not like they were actually going fast enough for the word 'swerve' to mean anything.

What they actually did was sort of gently drift to the right and then back onto the road.

As we all started to move slowly again, I finally saw her; a big old black heifer, standing smack where the center-lines are, half of her on our side and half on the other. She moved slightly in our direction. The car in front of me stopped and hit his horn. I think he yelled something; he was definitely waving his hands around.

The heifer did not so much as flinch.

She slowly raised her head and looked the guy in front of me, I swear, right in the eyes.

She's going to remember you did that, I thought. One night you are going to wake up to a cow who knows your face standing over your bed, dude.

He honked again.

She stared him down. Her tail flicked, slightly.

I noticed with growing nervousness some other cows standing against the fence, watching. I don't think we should call it a herd of cattle, it's definitely something more sinister than that. A crush of cows. A grudge of cows. Something like that.

Dude, now they are all going to know your face.

Get out while you still can.

With a palpable sense of defeat, he did finally execute his own gentle drift onto the shoulder of the road and went around her.

They all watched him go.

I was up next.

My window was still down. I pulled up, stopped, leaned out the window and said in a calm voice, "Hey, would you please mind moving a little the other way, pretty lady?"



I swear to God, she actually moved. Not much, only a couple of feet back into the other lane, but she moved. When I asked her to.

I thanked her cheerfully, rolled the window up, and went on my merry way. I am still rocking this absurd floating sense of some kind of victory, and also I'm kind of convinced that those cows liked me. I'm sure never going to wake up with angry cows standing around my bed like the other guy.

I might get a fruit basket. With the card signed with a hoofprint.

This just goes to prove that ladies are always better handled with compliments and polite requests instead of rudeness.

Even cow ladies.

Especially cow ladies.


  1. So... I found you via someplace else (am I allowed to say on GOMI? If not, delete away! I can just change my comment.) and I think you're awesome. I just wanted to tell you that. And this post made me choke on my sweet tea from trying not to laugh out loud at work. Nicely done.

    1. You can say whatever you want ;) I don't keep it any particular secret, really.

      Thanks! I try to be the kind of person that makes tea come out SOMEONE'S nose, for SOME reason. :)

  2. Wow, that sounds like a surreal/rewarding experience! I grew up in a farming town and I never ONCE encountered a cow in the road. I'm envious of your encounter. Not to mention your uncanny ability to communicate sweetly with mammals.

    When I visited New Zealand many years ago, sometimes there would be herds of sheep in the road. If you yelled at them, they looked at you and yelled back.

    1. Yeah, I've only seen cows actually In the road once or twice in my life (not counting this incident), but I've definitely seen them right up next to the road, obviously contemplating making a run for it. I think it's more common out west where they regularly takes cattle long distances. My dad's cattle just stayed in their pastures.


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