Lost in Midlife column: I got your goose
When we lived in the suburbs, my dog had a squirrel obsession.
He would routinely sit by the deck door watching the backyard for squirrels like a guard at Buckingham Palace. Neither sleep nor hunger nor the sound of a killer Roomba approaching would tear him from his post, unless, of course, he heard the sound of food accidentally dropping on the kitchen floor. When a squirrel appeared, he would growl menacingly and finally erupt into a fit of hysterical barking until I let him outside to chase the interloper over the fence or up a tree. I can’t say I was unhappy about that. The squirrels ate my pumpkins and raided my bird feeders so I was not really a fan. If Monty wanted to chase the squirrels back to their squirrel lair so they could tell little squirrel stories about the mean squirrel-hating dog in our yard, it was OK by me.
When we left the suburbs, I thought the squirrel issue was resolved. We moved into the city and there was nary a squirrel to be found. It seemed our bothersome squirrel issues would be a thing of the past. But then we moved again to a place near the water and we discovered that there was something afoul.
Or more specifically, a fowl.
In this latest move, we had unwittingly traded in squirrels for geese, the scourge of lawns and sidewalks everywhere. I woke up to the sound of geese honking. I went to sleep to the sound of geese honking. And when I went outside to shoo the honking geese away, I discovered a minefield of honking goose droppings.
According to multiple geese authorities, the average goose poops every 12 minutes, which translates to more than 100 times a day. ONE HUNDRED TIMES! This was somewhat horrifying and really more than I wanted to know about geese, but it did, at least, explain the minefield outside.
When we first moved, the geese weren’t here. I suppose they had left for greener pastures. But about two months later they suddenly appeared and the only member of our family who seemed truly excited about this… was the dog. The dog had led a somewhat sheltered suburban life and had never actually met a goose before. So, the first time I took him outside to do his business, he didn’t notice them. But then the geese honked and he suddenly perked up like a retriever on a hunt, waiting to go collect the birds his owner shot down. As my dog is, actually, a retriever, this wasn’t much of a surprise. What happened next was.
I had fully expected the dog to bark his head off and lurch at the geese, which, I assumed to him, were just big squirrels with beaks, scaring them away from the premises. But as he took a few steps forwards and strained at the leash, a bunch of the geese turned and flew at us, paralyzing both the dog and me in terror.
Now, I’ve done battle with wild turkeys which I had always thought were the scariest birds in the ‘burbs. But they don’t hold a feather to an angry goose. Apparently, we had unwittingly trespassed on private goose territory, and this is not something that geese will tolerate.
At first I thought I might stand my ground with my faithful retriever by my side and show the geese who was the toughest bird. But as the geese came at us, Monty yanked the leash out of my hands and ran off to save his own skin. This really left me with no other option.
So I turned and flew the coop.
Note: Tracy Beckerman is embarking on a new adventure as an empty nester! Now, instead of being “Lost in Suburbia,” she is “Lost in Midlife.” Life is just as funny… but with a lot less laundry. For more midlife humor, you can follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LostinsuburbiaFanPage/