My neighbor’s cows are trying to kill me. I suppose I shouldn’t have insinuated that they had no ambition, but in my defense, they’re cows. Also I didn’t anticipate that the ambition they developed would be murderous.
In the event that you haven’t guess this yet: I have a story to tell.
It started as a peaceful afternoon; our toddler was napping. With our particular toddler, who’s far too energetic to submit without protest to tortures like rest, you might say that it was an unusually peaceful afternoon. I was sitting in my favorite spot, fiddling on my computer, which is one of my favorite activities. My wife was reclining on the couch beside me, trying to take a nap, which is something she actually resists as much as our daughter. It was almost idyllic.
Then we heard a loud moo.
I adore my daughter and appreciate her vitality, but since I don’t share it, I get a bit twitchy when she sleeps. There’s the constant danger that it’s just a short-lived fantasy, that she might wake up and demand the freedom to be rambunctious again before I’ve recovered from the last time. Being twitchy inspires strange concerns.
As a relevant example, I was suddenly concerned that my daughter was awake and mooing loudly. (If you knew my daughter, this might seem more reasonable.) I didn’t want to go to her room to check on her though, because sometimes checking becomes the very trigger that awakens her. Instead I thought I’d make certain that the sound hadn’t come from the other obvious possible source. I asked my wife, “Was that you?”
Just so we’re clear on how wonderful a parent I am, I heard a loud and unexpected animal noise that seemed to come from inside my house, but my first reaction can be effectively described as a version of the prayer, “Sweet merciful Father in Heaven, please don’t let my daughter be awake yet!” Then, just so we’re clear about how wonderful a husband I am, my next reaction seemed to rely on the assumption that my wife is a cow, or at least likes to imitate them sometimes.
Naturally she objected, and being the direct sort of woman that she is, she objected bluntly, “No. That was a cow.”
A surprisingly long pause followed.
Eventually our mighty intellects discerned that when my wife identified the source of the sound, she hadn’t resolved the mystery. Why were we hearing a cow so clearly, and why did the sound seem to be coming from our kitchen?