Swans: Synonymous with elegance and grace. Complete and total assholes

Nestled at the foot of Mt St. Helena in Calistoga, CA lies the enchanting grounds of the Chateau Montelena Winery. A stone castle surrounded by a Chinese garden, overlooking a lake where Asian style bridges run to the island picnic areas spread throughout. One could spend hours just watching turtles and koi cruise just below the water surface and ducks glide across the lake, while listening to the quiet whisper of a gentle breeze as it rustles the many tree leaves. It’s a vision of complete and total relaxation.

That is, until the world’s douchiest swan feels the vibrations of your footfalls on one of the bridges and attacks.

It’s amazing how disarming an environment like this can be, with a peace and harmony so pervasive that it clings to everything like a fine mist, that you can only assume the feeling extends to the ground’s inhabitants. I mused on ideas like this as I watched this mammoth douche of a swan swim gracefully across the lake, directly to the bridge I was standing on, and bite my toe. Yep, thats right. It bit my goddamn toe.

Perhaps I was taken by the beauty of the area, or maybe that of the bird itself. I thought that it was used to humans and was maybe hoping to be fed, but I was wrong. This swan wanted blood. My blood. I am well aware that swans are ornery, but this was different. This swan was not working on instinct or some primal urge, it was a calculating, formulating, and ferocious killer. When I pulled my foot away that did not dissuade the vicious bird, but rather it moved on to another plan and began to attack the bridge I was standing on, with what I can only guess was the hope it could sink the bridge with me on it and gain easier access to my throat. The only time it would stop it’s attack on the bridge was when afforded the opportunity to casually assault a passing duck.

Needless to say, the bridge attack was futile and I made it out alive. But be warned if you ever find yourself at the Chateau Montelena Winery. More importantly be afraid. Swanzilla is a total dick and he may be gunning for you.

Swans: Synonymous with elegance and grace. Complete and total assholes

Loss Prevention

Last Saturday afternoon, being the good boyfriend that I am, I went by Mara’s parent’s place to help out with a moving sale they were having. Which, as you could imagine, was mostly uneventful, outside of watching people haggle over tiny sums of money. Like fifty cents tiny. Which was actually kinda funny, considering I am unemployed and wouldn’t stoop that low. Anyhow, I had pretty much resigned myself to a day of watching these cheap bastards and eating delicious egg salad sandwiches when a situation unlike any I have had in my 35 long years walked into my life.

From about three houses down, riding a whirlwind of profanity, came an experience disguised as a massive man in a Jets hat. We could hear his shouts of “fuck” and “fucking shit” from quite a distance, padded by what sounded like the background vocals of that Batman Ulaeulae video (http://ualuealuealeuale.ytmnd.com/) that was going around a while back. By the time the cursing hulk of a potential buyer arrived in the driveway, I was not alone in my curiosity, as all the shoppers froze in place, mystified by their bargain shopping brethren. It was soon made apparent, as he charged through the displayed items like a tornado through a trailer park, profanities flying and a lollipop hanging out of his mouth, that this was man was, in my grandmother’s words, “touched.” After knocking over a few random things, the mystery man in the Jets hat suddenly stopped, smitten by a lamp that, unfortunately for him, was already sold. Being the closest to him, in my least confrontational voice I explained this fact, to which he repeatedly inquired “how much?” as he loosely held the lamp, his eyes locked on mine, clumsily switching it from hand to hand as if to intimidate me in some bizarre manner. I felt like I had been sucked into a never ending circle of the Pete/Repeat joke from which I couldn’t escape, until, as quickly as it had sparked, his interest waned and he once again began his ritual knocking over of displayed items. After a few more rounds, the seductive and alluring lamp, apparently irresistible, was once again a focal point; however, this time it was for a much more devious purpose. I watched, awestruck, as my new source of fascination, either unaware or indifferent to my presence, blatantly stole the finial off of the lamp shade and casually slipped it into his jacket pocket.

This is an awkward situation for multiple reasons. First, it was not like this was the Hope Diamond, it was a finial for Christ’s sake, which wouldn’t have been a much of an issue at all if the lamp wasn’t paid for already. Next, the guy was clearly off. What was I supposed to do, make a citizens arrest? Reprimand a guy who I am fairly certain had that special brand of strength, the kind where he could probably my arms off? So, rather than react at all, I slowly approached, hoping he would realize I saw the heist go down. As I stepped into his periphery, he quickly spun to face me and started shouting “What? What?” before I had the opportunity to engage him, catching me completely off guard. As he shouted, he slowly took the finial out of his pocket. Now at this point I wasn’t sure if the shouts of what were a challenge or a guilty panic, so in my most soothing tone I casually asked, “Hey, doesn’t that go with the lamp?” Looking me in the eyes the whole time, he reached over and deftly screwed the finial back in place. No harm done. Once I was sure he was moving away from the lamp, I walked out of the garage only to find he was following me, so I turned and greeted him with a smile which was apparently his queue to verbally assault me with a million questions, the most uncomfortable of which was, “Ok, can you take me home now?” which he punctuated by casually tossing his orange Tootsie Pop at my feet.

As you might have guessed, I did not drive this mystery man home. I did offer a silent thanks, however, as I watched him curse his way up the street in the late afternoon sun for adding chocolate syrup and a cherry to an otherwise vanilla day.

Loss Prevention