Tuesday, August 3, 2010

TRAILSIDE EXCHANGE: A TRUE FARCE

Recent conversation between a certain grizzled blogger and a local metropark employee. The setting, an intersection along one of the more remote loop trails, whereat the smaller trail, rather overgrown, sports a sign which says: DO NOT ENTER - TRAIL RESTING.
———
Metropark Employee (MPE): That trail is closed to the public.
Grizzle Blogger (GB): I don't blame you. Can't have the unwashed masses traipsing willy-nilly all over their park.
MPE: Huh?
GB: All that tramping about. I can see how a path would become exhausted.
MPE: Uh, well anyway, you can't go in there.
GB: Wouldn't dream of it. But I presume it was all right to exit?
MPE: Huh?
GB: The sign says "Do Not Enter." It says nothing about exiting.
[The metropark employee mulls this conundrum over momentarily. His double-negative reply is delivered with a haughty smirk.]
MPE: You couldn't have been on that trail if you hadn't ignored the sign.
GB: What sign?
MPE: [Gesticulating emphatically.] That sign!
GB: You can't read its message from the backside. Besides, the directive is inapplicable.
MPE: Huh?
GB: Depends on whether you're coming or going.
MPE: You're not making any sense.
GB: Actually, I believe I am. However, let me put it another way. To effectively close a linear trail, you need to put a "Do Not Enter" sign at both ends.
[Whereupon a moment of presumed cogitation by the metropark employee is followed by his dawning embarrassment.]
MPE: [Quietly chagrined.] Oh.
GB: But there were lots of blackberries along the way.
MPE: Public berry-picking is not permitted along the trail.
GB: I thought that trail was closed?
MPE: It is! Or will be when I get a sign up at the other end. But you can't pick berries in the park.
GB: You're the one who brought up picking.
MPE: Well, that looks like berry juice at the corner of your mouth.
[The grizzled blogger removes a bandana from a pocket, moistens the corner of his mouth with the tip of his tongue, mops up—then stares intently at the patterned dark-blue square of cloth.]
GB: I don't see anything.
[The metropark employee, exhibiting an exasperated "why me?" attitude, resignedly shakes his head. The grizzled blogger grins conspiratorially and points.]
GB: However, I do see that gallon bucket you've been holding unobtrusively to your side, and note what appear to be possible recent blackberry stains therein. Given the fact you're technically NOT a member of the public, when coupled with your proximity to this blackberry-laden pathway…I must say I have my suspicions.
[In either a moment of blushing guilt, or a simple flushing caused by the 90-degree August heat, the face and neck of the metropark employee turns beet red.]
MPE: Uh…well…I gotta go. I'll see to getting that sign up. Have a good day.
GB: You, too. And if I might offer a word of advice…the berries under the trees are kinda sour—the sweetest ones are along the meadow section of the trail.
———————

28 comments:

Carolyn H said...

Griz: Too funny! But don't you know that once you get to be a certain age, teasing the young'uns is almost too easy--just like taking candy from a baby.

Carolyn H

Bonnie said...

Hilarious!

But really, you should have more compassion with this dutiful government employee who has very little command of the King's English! He will rue the day he found himself in the ring with you to joust.

The really funny thing is that he probably left the exchange thinking YOU were the crazy one! He's probably warning people about the foreign-tongued, hospital escapee as we 'speak'.

Thanks for the good laugh Grizz.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Oh Grizz, how often have I come upon signs saying 'do not enter' when I have been exiting!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Carolyn…

Are you insinuating I'm of that certain age? :-)

Of course, you're correct, on all counts—though this fine fellow was not all that young. Still, I believe it may be a sin to allow a good tease victim to slip away unscathed.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bonnie…

I've tried to feel contrite about this, but to no avail. I believe it was the assumption and pomposity that set me off—though it might have had something to do with the heat, mosquitos, and new contacts which cause me to lurch about like a spavined moose.

I might, indeed, have been a little crazy…

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Weaver…

Wasn't my first time, either—and God willing (not to mention the occasional heeding of curiosity's call) it won't be my last. Life is too short to pay attention to too many signs.

Scott said...

Grizz, it's members of the public like you that make MY job exasperating. Poor guy; he's probably going to put up barricades and plant some landmines as well as posting signs now!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Scott…

My friend, you are preaching (sniping?) at the choir. Been there, done that, understand and acknowledge all that you say …and still came to believe, in the words of Edward Abbey, that "Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.”

I'll keep an eye out for the landmines…

George said...

According to my count, there were twelve rounds with the MPE. Sorry to say this, Grizz, but it was a mismatch. Should have been called after the fourth or fifth round. I suspect you are a man who would do almost anything to get to a good blackberry patch, and, to be honest, I can't really find fault with that.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

George…

I had no idea whatsoever there was a good blackberry patch—in fact, several—along that trail. Neither did I know the trail was closed. At the junction where I switched over to the green (semi-closed) trail, there was no sign, nor did the big color map board in the middle of the intersection give any indication.

I'm intuitive, but not psychic.

That said, you're right in that a little thing like a sign probably wouldn't keep me from entering a "resting" area…though I'd be more inclined to ignore it if it were a pawpaw patch rather than dime-a-dozen blackberry briars; I can find plenty of those without walking a couple of miles in 90-degree weather.

I don't consider it a won/lost scenario…just an exchange of philosophies between a couple of trailside berry pickers.

Bernie said...

So enjoyed this post Grizz....grins
almost as much as you did teasing that poor man......:-) Hugs

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bernie…

I was hot, tired, exasperated, thirsty, sweat-drenched, mosquito-bit, wiping spider webs from my mouth and face, my legs itching from bulling through a patch of stinging nettles, and still had more than a mile of oven-like fields to cross before getting back to the truck. I needed a bit of fun to survive.

Glad you enjoyed the exchange…

annie said...

I am going to laugh all morning, Griz, over the post and then the comments by you and others. What a read...The picture of you starting to "lurch about like a spavined moose" with new lenses-- I've sure been there.
annie

Tramp said...

"You couldn't have been on that trail if you hadn't ignored the sign." ???
No wonder the poor trail needed a rest. I needed a strong cup of tea after trying to get my head round that.
I used to work with an old chap who when tying up a load on a lorry would say, "It can't fall off there's nothing to stop it".
...Tramp

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Annie…

No better way to start a day than with a good laugh. BTW, the "spavined moose" image wasn't too far off—I'm still having real problems with the lenses. New ones were supposed to be here Wednesday…but now it looks like next week. In the meantime, I mutter and lurch.

[Annie: I want to apologize for being so slow in posting this and replying. Midday Wednesday, lightening struck the pole carrying the cable line, frying both the TV box and the Internet modem. Luckily, none of my gear—TV, computers, external drives, AirPort, etc.—was damaged, but I've been without service until today, when the cable company got the lines and their equipment replaced.]

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Tramp…

A brook trout fisherman trying to figure the way to a wilderness beaver pond he hadn't visited in more than a decade, said to me, quite seriously, after an hour of northcountry two-tracks and tag alder mazes: "When we get to where we're going…we'll be there."

[I must apologize to you, too, for being slow in posting your comment and replying. Your missive also came in after the pole was zapped.]

Gail said...

HI GRIZZ_

How did I miss this post? Anyway, your intelligent banter and "no holds barred" approach is hysterical, sharp, amazing and down right cynical. I Loved it!! Isn't wisdom just the best??

I am forging on...one step at a time here. phew.

Love to you
Gail
peace and hope.....

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

Hey, I'm forging along one step at a time here, too…and stumbling regularly, thanks to the new contacts. Glad to hear things are at least holding their own and that you're making slow-but-steady progress.

You know, I've long thought that common sense, isn't.

Take care, appreciate your blessings, keep love in all you do…

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Funnier than most anything I read today, and as always...a visit to your blog makes me happy I came!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Teri…

I hope it gave you a chuckle. I had fun writing it…and saying it—though I don't know about the park worker.

Jennifer Richardson said...

Love the name "Riverdaze"....drank in the photos with gusto....and now I'm grinning inconsolably. What a great spot to visit!
-Jennifer

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jennifer…

First off, welcome to the riverbank. I'm glad you enjoyed what you found here, and hope you come back often.

Second , I guess the title "Riverdaze…" pretty much sums up my state of wonder I see all around, which is why I do this blog—to share what I can of that with those who appreciate the voice of wind and water and stone, and like to take note of geese against a sunset sky or vespers as sung by a white-throated sparrow.

Finally, I thought your hand-made cards lovely. Again…please visit as often as you like; you're always welcome.

Kelly said...

Hahaha...bravo!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Kelly…

I do find ALL the critters in the park generally amusing. :-D

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Great storytelling!
SBW

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Suburban BW…

Glad you enjoyed it…though it wasn't so much storytelling as simple reporting. In the outdoors, truth is often all that's need for a moment of wonder or a good laugh. Many of the best tales can't be improved by embellishing.

Anyway, glad you liked it…and appreciate the link. BTW, love the red elk. (Thought it was moose there for a moment, but it was an honest mistake given all the northcountry brook trout I'd chased.)

Deus Ex Machina said...

How did that song go? "Signs, signs, everywhere are signs..." What a great opportunity to show the "officials" that they are not infallible, as many seem to believe. I came here via SBW's blog and will have to take some time to look around.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Deus Ex Machina…

Well, I've been on both sides of such issue, from a visitor and official standpoint—and it always pays to keep in mind, regardless, that mistakes get made, signs get left unposted, etc.

On this particular day, I was hot, tired, sweaty, itching from a few nettle encounters along the overgrown path, and just in the mood to yank someone's chain a bit, recreationally speaking. I'm not sure if it was the honorable thing to do…but it was certainly fun.

BTW, since you're looking around, and given your last post, you might like this one I did last year on nightshade:

http://riverdaze.blogspot.com/2009/06/pretty-poison.html