9/19/2017: Rebel turkeys
Hands down, my favorite part about living in Davis, CA was the turkey sightings. Massive flocks of random turkeys scattered all around, trolling the most densely populated areas in town.
In the middle of the street.
In retirement community gardens.
In parking lots.
In your front yard.
In your backyard.
And, best of all, on top of cars.
My personal all-time favorite sighting happened as I was getting off work one afternoon. I stepped outside and the first thing I saw was a turkey just chilling on top of a cop car.
I’m sorry but seeing a gargantuan turkey standing on the roof of an unoccupied police SUV is the ultimate image of rebellion. I basically heard it squawking “Who’s boss in this town now, boys?!” and, at that moment, I knew human authority had been successfully overthrown and the residents of Davis would hereto bow down to the turkey. We hail to you, O mighty beast.
Back in 2013, turkey sightings were rare in Davis. They’d congregate to make occasional appearances in empty fields here and there, mostly keeping to themselves… but by my fourth year living there, people were referring to them as a “problem” because turkeys were everywhere. These animals finally allowed themselves to reach their full potential and were beginning to overpopulate within the city limits, which seemed to annoy residents everywhere. I didn’t see how it could possibly be construed as a problem because they were hilarious. And no way it was just me who found their behavior so hilarious. Yes, it’s true… you’d never see this kind of thing where I’m from in L.A. so maybe that added to my delight… but c’mon, I don’t care where you’re from, you should be enjoying these magical creatures attempt to dominate and infiltrate enemy lines. Even if you get woken up at 5 a.m. because a turkey gang is down your street gobbling up a storm.
These feathered fuckers didn’t give a single shit, and I laughed every time I saw one. They frequently walked out into the street and blocked traffic… and would, like, just stand there while cars honked at them but nevertheless refuse to get out of the way. Maybe they were protesters. And drivers would get pissed. One guy even inched up on a huge turkey standing in front of his car and bumped it with his fender hoping it would move to the side, but it didn’t. I was crying laughing from the sidewalk as I watched this beautiful scene unfold.
And these turkeys were smart little devils. Sometimes a crew of them would perfectly cross through a pedestrian cross walk when they had the green light. But other times, their infantry would stomp out into moving traffic and take control of one of the city’s busiest intersections. I’m not sure what their plan or intention ever was with these stunts, but it usually seemed pretty devious.
“Alright, Bert. You block the northbound section here and I got the south.”
“Copy that, Patricia.”
“Uhmm this silver Nissan don’t look very happy over here, Patricia. He just tapped my behind!”
“Fuck em all, Fred. We’ll go wherever we damn well please, to hell with it. We own this town now.”
“Gobble gobble, muthafuckas.”
9/11/2017: Davis sheep squad boys
During my last year in college, I decided to start exercising reguarly. I went hiking most weekends — whether or not the weather permitted — and I also tried to train myself to be a better runner.
I started jogging every night through the residential areas near my house. I considered that a public service because, if I jogged in the darkness of night, then people’s eyes wouldn’t be subject to such pathetic attempts to get myself in shape.
But I quickly grew tired of houses being the backdrop to this mindless activity, so I travelled elsewhere.
The outskirts of the city of Davis are equipped with abundant farmlands, for which I decided would be the primary site for my new undertaking. These empty fields promised fewer bystanders to be witness to my athletic failures so sometimes, when I felt particularly daring and rebellious, I’d go out for a daytime jog.
And that’s when it happened. That’s when I think I experienced the lowest point in my life so far.
I was minding my own business — jogging alongside a little county road outside of town — when a homeless man on a bicycle rides up behind me. He yelled “Keep running, get rid of that fat!” and continued to ride past me.
Part of me was furious and the other part couldn’t help but laugh. “Did a toothless country hobo on a bike REALLY just call me fat?!” “Bitch that’s exactly what I’m doing, don’t gotta state the obvious.” “Was that supposed to be encouraging??” “Who the fuck is he to judge… like damn, at least I’m out here trying to better myself.” But also “This must be what rock bottom feels like…”
Well I kept running, and soon enough I twisted my ankle on uneven gravel. This happened all the time, but this instance was particularly extreme. As I was going down, I braced the fall with my hands. My wrists got scraped up pretty badly and I also fell on one of my knees and that also started bleeding.
I was lying there on the ground in the middle of nowhere, at least a mile from my car, and I remember thinking I was screwed. Unless that asshole hobo comes back, I’m going to die here. There was no chance I was going to be able to stand after such a severe twist.
But I did. And that really solidified my theory that my ankles are made out of kryptonite. No matter how horribly or often I twist them, I always seem to be fine shortly after.
So I kept running. Because of my superpower. And because yolo.
I wasn’t far from my car when my right hand started to hurt, though. It was slightly swollen and I couldn’t move it at all. “Like are you jokkkkinnng?”
I wound up at Emergency Care that night because I needed to get it X-rayed. As a college student, being able to move my right hand was pretty crucial so I was freaking out.
Just the week before, my Mom had suggested I stop running because she knows I have bad luck and always end up hurting myself. Well woman, you were right.
Thankfully my wrist wasn’t fractured. But even though I was sitting in the patient room waiting to hear back from the doctor who would probably tell me he’d have to amputate my hand or something right before my final exams, I had no regrets about that run. You want to know why? Because right before I got back to my car, I saw these boys walking their sheep. They were so young, and had formed this squad that I just really wanted to be a part of.
It was possibly the greatest thing I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure if I’m just too “city girl” for my own good or if this was just a totally normal thing, but I was pumped. This group of boys were just causally taking their sheep out for a walk — no destination apparent — just out for a stroll I guess.
You’d never see that in L.A. I didn’t even think I’d ever see something like that in Davis, because honestly the town wasn’t very rural or anything. But apparently when you step out of the downtown or campus scene and bother to venture to the outskirts of Davis, you can feast your eyes on majestic sightings such as the sheep boys.
I even got to see a turtle one day when I went out for a run. I had never seen a turtle in the wild like that, so I got super excited. It was completely random, and I was like “hey buddy, what’re you doing out here” because I’m not sure where it could’ve come from.
I had to take advantage of this moment, so I walked up to it and touched it. It retracted its head back inside its shell because it was terrified of me. I peeked inside, and it all looked gross in there. Turtles are gross… at least their reptilian skin is. I thought about poking it in there, but was afraid it would bite my finger and give me some sort of flesh-eating disease.
With my luck, that would happen. And then I’d go back to Emergency Care and see the same doctor and he’d judge me for my life choices. But don’t worry, sir, I already judge myself and my actions plenty enough for the both of us.