I’m beginning to get the feeling that perhaps I’ve carried jokes about dodging the deer on my commute a bit too far, that they have pulled out their laptops and tablets, scanned my Facebook and Twitter accounts and have decided it’s to time to get even with me for taunting them so much.
I can’t blame them. I wouldn’t appreciate being made out to be as hapless as Wile E. Coyote, either.
Unfortunately for the deer, though, that’s the gist of my jokes about them. All that’s missing is some ridiculous device made by ACME that spectacularly fails at the moment I drive by.
I’ve posted so often about avoiding deer on my way to work that my friends have gotten in on the act.
One colleague delights in writing notes on pictures of deer she prints from the Internet and leaving them for me to find when I arrive for work.
Just the other day, an old college friend sent me a picture of his deer-damaged car, saying my early morning pursuers made sure a big buck was there to greet him on the Virginia border as he returned home from vacation.
Another friend sends me stealth cam pictures of deer as proof they are stalking me as I make my way to work long before the sun rises.
It’s all in fun, but what if the deer really are targeting me?
I was walking our spastic dog Rodney a couple of weeks ago when I noticed his ears prick up. He’s a curious German Shepherd and easily excitable. I’ve learned that when his ears go up, it’s a sure sign that he’s about to get over-enthusiastic. I gave his leash a quick jerk to remind him to stay calm and tossed a treat in the air for him to catch.
That’s when I saw it.
She had emerged from the tree line that borders an expansive field in our neighborhood.
The doe froze.
And, surprisingly, even Rodney froze.
While the three of us stared at each other, Rodney and I slowly sat down. Then I pulled out my phone and, with Rodney sitting in front of me, I snapped a picture of the deer framed by his enormous ears.
Call me paranoid, but after I took the picture, I started getting suspicious. It occurred to me that perhaps our encounter was no accident, that maybe this doe staring at us so intently was, in fact, a spy sent to report back to the collective about my habits in hopes of making it easier to catch me while on the commute.
When the doe started stamping one of her front legs like my wife does when she gets impatient with me, I decided it was best to move on.
As we were walking away, though, I happened to glance over my shoulder. A fawn had emerged to join its mother. Apparently, Rodney and I had unwittingly separated them.
It should have been a touching mother and child moment, but I was too busy running scenarios through my head.
What if the doe wasn’t simply worried about her fawn when she stamped her feet?
What if they really were spying on me?
What if they were the vanguard of even more deer hidden among the trees waiting for the right moment to spring their trap?
Deer can be wily.
In any case, I’m on my guard now.
It’d be a shame if the Road Runner was finally caught.
Giles Snyder lives in Martinsburg with his wife and two kids. You can follow @GilesSnyder on Twitter, find him on Facebook or look up his blog at gilessnyder.wordpress.com.