Sunday, June 23, 2013

Forrest Gump

Palau obviously doesn't get The Price is Right because it totally does not help control the pet population. As you can imagine, the over-abundance of "pets" is not exactly my favorite aspect of Palau living. It probably doesn't even come in top 500. I'm sure it would come in the top 1,000, but only because after a while I would run out of things to list.

I have limits, guys. I can't spend all day making a list of everything about Palau.

Anyway, living in Palau sort of feels like living inside of a zoo. Except there are no cages for the animals. Dogs, bats, cats, birds of all sorts, panda bears, elephants, etc. roam the streets like they own the place.

Ok, so I've never actually seen a panda bear or elephant here. But I'm sure they're around. I'm almost certain I've heard an elephant in the trees next to my apartment building.

I want all of the animals to just go away. They can go have their own island and leave the good people of my island alone. Except for the sea turtles, because sea turtles are magical and beautiful and I don't understand why we don't worship them. FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE. PEOPLE WORSHIP SNAKES!

If a sea turtle walked into my apartment right now, I would probably pee a little. And then I would be all like, "I am so honored to have you in my home." And then I would pull out my best china and offer it some . . . whatever it is sea turtles eat. And it could stay for as long as it wanted. And I would even move out and just let the sea turtle live there alone if it seemed like it would be more comfortable that way. And I would keep paying the rent.

But other than the sea turtles, the rest of the animals need to go. Especially, the dogs.

The Internets estimate that there are approximately 500 million dogs in the world. I believe that 200 million of those live on my tiny one-square-mile island. They spend their entire day laying flat out in the middle of the one road like they own the place. And to drive down this road, one has to weave back and forth like they're the cones from driver's ed.

And when they see a car coming, these dogs don't give a flying crap. They stare the car down like, "yeah, just try to hit me. I dare you." Because they know that everyone is aware that these dogs pay attention to the way they are treated. And since there are more of them than there are of us, crossing one of them will not go well for the crosser.

The dogs and I have come to an unspoken understanding in my many months in Palau that I will leave them alone and they will leave me alone and we'll all just get along and wait for the sea turtles to give us more specific instructions. But something happened recently to destroy this arrangement.

It was evening and I was running up the street from the beach back to my apartment. It was dark and I usually avoid being out on the road after dark without the Stormtrooper but I had lost track of time. As I turned one corner, I caught the sight of one of the mangiest looking dogs I have ever seen. And to my great horror, this dog started running directly behind me.

This has happened once or twice before and typically the dog will get tired after about five seconds and just plop back down on the road onto its stomach. Reminds me of me when I was gaining those thirty pounds my first few months in Palau.

But this dog didn't stop, and as we began to pass others, more dogs joined in the run. Freaked out, I progressively went faster and faster until eventually I was in a full sprint. The creepy part of this was that none of them were barking or making any other sounds. They were just silently running behind me.

Finally I got near my apartment building and I became very concerned that they were going to find out where I live. So I did the only thing I could think of. I stopped and turned around so I could face them.

Guys. I swear to you, I counted TWELVE dogs following me in one tight pack. And when I turned around to look at them, they all stopped and stared at me. And then they started sitting down. And I was like, "guys, I don't know what you want from me. But I just want to go home now."

And right then I realized that this was EXACTLY like that scene from Forrest Gump where Forrest is running across America and people keep jumping in and then eventually he stops and turns around and says to all of the people, "I think I'll go home now."

And I was like, "dogs! I'm not Forrest Gump!" And when I said it, a couple of them were like, "this is lame" and started walking off into the jungle and then the rest followed. But that original dog lingered for a second and stared at me all like, "don't you forget my face" and it was in the threatening way that it communicated this to me. And then that dog walked off too.

Then I went up the stairs to my apartment and found another dead Leotrix.

Somebody get me off this island.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. That sounds like the stuff of nightmares to me. And on top of all of that, you had to encounter another dead Leotrix? What a night! So glad you survived it all.

  2. maybe they were wanting to make you the ruler of all the dogs. think of what kind of power that could give you!

  3. That sounds fantastic! (To watch) And just count your blessings that this Leotrix was dead and not a mother with ten baby Leotrixes waiting for you and Daniel to serve them delicious cake.

  4. What if they are the Leotrix Family sworn protectors and they have vowed destruction to those who harm their rat friends?

  5. the Leotrix was an offering...or maybe a threat like how they do it in the mafia (horse head on the bed

  6. Lol I need oxygen just reading about all this running and sprinting! Glad you survived the dogs with all your limbs in tact!

  7. Maybe they were trying to tell you that you have diabetes.

  8. Dude, animals are awesome. Just stare him down next time...and hope he doesn't attack you. :D

  9. Dogs are evil. One thing I've learned about dogs is to never run away from them when they run at you or else they'll chase you down. Also, never look at them in the eye. If a dog comes at you like that next time, run right toward it, and if it doesn't stop, take off your shoe and smack it really hard in the face when it tries to attack you.

  10. Can you imagine if the dogs HAD been barking the whole time. i'd just keel over dead!

  11. Next time take the bacon out of your pocket before you start running. Nice hair cut by-the-way.

  12. Maybe you should run with Daniel's leftover eggs that have been sitting on the counter for a while as a deterrent. Either it'll distract them or scare them.

  13. When I lived in sunny, tropical Taiwan, the high school at which I taught had about six resident dogs. Two belonged to the principal, including a beautiful brown female named Chocolate that would follow me home, watch for me to stop for a chat or even to slow down, and then clasp my knee tightly in her forelegs and enthusiastically hump it. This was an effective impetus not to dawdle on the road, until I realized that it was a lot more attention than I ever got from females of my own species, whereupon I decided that my knee being the canine Jude Law was an OK consolation prize and let her take her time with him. But that isn't what I came here to tell you about. Came to talk about the four "community-owned" dogs.

    The "community-owned" dogs, and I put that in quotation marks because communities do some of the parts of ownership, like feeding, but they do not do other parts of ownership, like vaccinating against rabies -- these dogs roamed the school grounds during the day in search of snacks. One dog had been hit by a car once, and nursed back to health by one of our school security guards. It was especially good at getting fed because bobbling around on its three remaining legs was so cute. And the hordes of students ensured that any biting incident would have a few dozen witnesses.

    In the evening, they often wandered away somewhere else. Possibly they bedded down in the forest on the southwest, among the bamboo and jackfruit trees. Possibly they paid a respectful visit to the massive graveyard on the southeast, where food was periodically offered to the dead at ground level. Who knows what occupies a semi-feral dog's mind in that situation? But sometimes, unbeknownst to me, they hung around the school still, looking for games to play, or possibly just looking for game.

    I discovered this one evening when I'd gone to the school track to run some laps. Out came the dogs, chasing me round or bounding across the field to cut me off. And chief among them, out came the adorably maimed three-legged dog, now strikingly transformed. The lights brought out the patchiness of his fur. His hop-and-skip walking gait gave way to a scrambled, shambling, skewompus run. His tongue, prone to loll out by day, flopped crazily in every direction. And, perhaps most disturbingly, he rolled his head a generous 90 degrees to the side as he ran, in order to put his good eye top and center. His rumored recovery from a car accident now made perfect sense. He had, in fact, been killed; the school security man had not so much nursed him back to health, as wrought dark science to instill in him a terrible semblance of life, against all the laws of nature or scruples of man. And he was ever among us begging because a high school offered so little of the only thing he now craved: brains, sweet brains.

    I never ran alone there again.

  14. I've had quite a rough few weeks.. just not wanting to work.. I usually read the post first thing in the morning but today I didn't have time because I had more work than usual on a Monday. So I finally got to it after lunch. And this post has made my day.. I love forest Gump.. and I totally felt like Jenni.. because my name is Jenni.. and I had a flashback to high school where everybody said "Hello Jen-nay".. I wish I was in high school again.. nope.. no i dont..

  15. All I can picture is Sandlot. Ha! I would have loved to laugh--I mean see this

  16. I grew up with a timid basset hound and when other dogs tried to follow us on walks, I had to drag her home because she was so scared. She would then whimper in the living room, outside my dad's office. Since my dad was a psychiatrist and saw patients at home, it was a bad scene: the dog would whimper, my dad would open the door and hiss, "EMMA. Get that dog OUT of here!!!" and I'd try to peer over his shoulder to check out the crazy person to see how they were taking this interruption. Usually not well. Whoops.

  17. I got chased (and bitten) by a goose on my jog last week. It was surprisingly frightening!

    Swine goose drew blood and everything!

  18. This Island is Home to More Cats Than People....

  19. This officially made my day. Possibly even my week. Thank you :)

  20. Elephants actually are phenomenally silent. Their feet are very soft. Just saying, one could easily sneak up on you... like Chuck Norris.