I suspect that there’s a flaw in whatever mechanism I use to create expectations. For example, I never expected my life to involve so many stories about cows. Similarly, I never expected cows to attack me.
In this way, the story I started last time is a prime example of this mysterious mechanical flaw. Every expectation I had was wrong.
Expectation 1: The Cows Would Be In Their Paddock
As I mentioned, my wife and I were relaxing one afternoon when we heard a loud moo. After taking far too long to realize that something was amiss, I abandoned my relaxation spot and went into the kitchen to investigate. What I saw was reminiscent of a Hollywood thriller, albeit not one that would likely succeed at the box office.
You know how a lot of movies employ a particular scare tactic in which something unexpected appears suddenly at a window? That happened. I was in our perfectly average kitchen, which is mostly devoid of adventure, when suddenly a giant grotesquely inhuman face appeared! It was a giant, grotesquely inhuman face!
Granted, it was “grotesquely inhuman” because it was a rather typical cow face, which was “giant” by virtue of being cow sized. But it was still unexpected. Even though we had just heard a very loud moo, I expected that the cows were still beyond the fence. Like I said, I have a problem.
Cows are large, for the record. If you don’t have any experience with them apart from books or television, you might have trouble appreciating how large they are. To illustrate my point, I’ll add that the face appeared at the higher of our two kitchen windows, the one which is above the counter top and at least five feet off the ground. The cow wasn’t peeking through that window like a kid straining on his tiptoes. It was filling the window with it’s deceptively gentle eyes and smacking cow lips.
Expectation 2: This Problem Would Be Easy To Fix
We stared at each other for a moment. It was like the Moriarty to my Holmes, with my kitchen being the Reichenbach Falls in this equation. It even moo-ed again, mockingly.
Perhaps I should add that there’s a flaw in whatever mechanism I use to weigh the inherent drama of a situation. It seemed like there was only one appropriate response: I called the police.
Which means I should probably also add that there’s a flaw in whatever mechanism I use to decide appropriateness. I’m not sure how police involvement was going to help: “Hello, a cow is insulting me. Please arrest it.” I defaulted to a simple declaration of facts: “There’s a cow outside my kitchen.”
Of course, that’s the sort of declaration that doesn’t declare any of the important points. Fortunately for everyone involved, someone more clear headed had already reported the incident. The nice woman on the other end of the phone commented that they had heard about an escaped cow, and that they had already dispatched officers to deal with the problem.
I’m going to pause for a moment and ask a question that I entirely overlooked at the time: what were the officers going to do? As mentioned, cows are big. Even if handcuffs fit it, I suspect that it would likely resist any attempt to deploy them.
In any event though, the obstacle that did actually emerge was that the officers were having trouble finding the cow. No sooner in fact had the woman told me this than the cow happily sauntered away from my kitchen window to continue on it’s escapade.
Expectation 3: I Know Where I Live
This expectation I actually developed in primary school. I wonder how long it’s been mistaken.
After the police woman told me that they were having trouble finding the cow, she asked me if I could tell her the name of the street where it was. I could still see the cow; it was still right beside my house. I could not tell her the name of the street.
To be slightly fair to myself, the cow was technically on a side street, not the street where my house is listed. Also, both of those streets are really short, not much more than alleys, really. (The snow plows don’t even bother with them in Winter.) I had never learned the name of the side street because I literally could never have any reason to drive on it.
Expectation 4: Driving On a Street Is The Only Reason To Know Its Name
It’s a bit embarrassing to admit to a police officer that one doesn’t know the name of the street at the corner of which one lives. I had to watch the cow meander through my neighborhood without being able to provide a meaningful point of reference..
Expectation 5: This Problem Would Also Be Easy To Fix
I’m a problem solver. Actually, thinking about that inspires me to admit that the mechanism I use to solve problems isn’t exactly perfect. To tie this whole business together, I didn’t expect to describe so many of my brain’s mechanisms as faulty
Either way, it occurred to me that the side street–the one with the cow on it–was actually labeled; I just needed to go where I could see the sign, and then I could tell the police like a helpful and not at all ignorant person.
And to tie this whole business together even more, a lot of movies also frequently employ the suspense of a character who leaves safety and enters danger because he doesn’t realize that it’s dangerous, like leaving the safety of a house and wandering around alone outside with a monster. Usually, when I’m watching those movies, I think to myself, “That is a foolish decision; who would ever do that?”
Expectation 6: No One Would Make Such A Bad Choice