I have a confession to make. Several years ago, my daughter and I were on a summer road trip traveling across the Canadian prairies. In Saskatchewan we had to take a detour because of road construction, and we managed - don’t laugh - to get lost. Yes, in Saskatchewan. We were on a secondary (or thirduary) road fast approaching nowhere, so we decided to stop for directions at a farmhouse situated about halfway between nowhere and more nowhere.
It was a pretty farm, all wide-open and flat, a little mirror image of the province itself. Heather and I were in great spirits, because you just know you’re in friendly territory on a remote farm in Saskatchewan. Everybody in Saskatchewan is friendly, it’s a rule, I think, but the farmers must surely be extra-friendly. Dour looking but kindly and good. It’s not like a remote farm in B.C. where the backyard is probably piled high with graves from murdered victims and the farmer looks as though he is ready to add another once he sees you. No, this was friendly Saskatchewan.
As we sat in the car doing a final check of our map, we felt all B.C.-humbled by the vast expanses of flat farmland around us. We thought we might take the time to tell Saskatchewan Farmer about mountains, and the way they can really frame a scene. Saskatchewan Farmer would chuckle at our B.C. charm and wit, and then, being a friendly Saskatchewan farmer, he would probably ply us with homemade pie and coffee, after which he would tell us how to get back to the main road.
So, we got out of the car, breathed in the fresh country air, then headed to the door. And that’s when bad things started to happened.
We were ringing the bell, waiting for Saskatchewan Farmer to open the door to meet two fine representatives of the mighty (and mountainous) province of B.C.. He didn’t answer though, and we were suddenly aware that everything was deadly quiet except for an ominous sound of . . . something.
A movement to our left caught us off-guard. Then a movement to our right. We spun around to find that we were completely surrounded by giant monster killer flying black things from hell. They were everywhere, and apparently they were annoyed about something because they were all buzzy and bouncy. My guess is, they hated people from B.C., or at least the two hapless souls standing at the door. The remote farm in B.C. with the backyard body count started to seem pretty good by comparison.
For a long nanosecond, Heather and I just stood there staring at each other.
After the nanosecond had passed, we started to make strange squeaky sounds, a kind of ‘eek, eek, EEEEEEEK, eek-eek-eek-eek, ack ack, eek, omg omg omg OMG’ that the black beasts mistakenly took to be a mating call, because suddenly there were about one billion more of the creatures flying around us, being aggressively buzzy and bouncy. Only their unease at our strange antics kept us from being eaten on the spot.
And you know, to this day I have to wonder what Saskatchewan Farmer must have thought as he watched from behind his curtain. One thing is clear, he was far too knowledgeable about B.C. crazies to open his door to us and our billion companions, which only goes to prove that the whole ‘friendly Saskatchewan’ schtick is something of a scam.
Unless he was covering his eyes in horror (possible) or couldn’t see for laughing (probable), he would have seen two women madly leaping around his driveway, flinging themselves about in a sort of frenzied ritualistic dance complete with frantic flailing arms and legs and guttural barely-human sounds that only animals in great pain and people from B.C. beset by giant black flies could possibly make. He would have watched us going step by backward step back toward the car, reaching it at last, clawing desperately at the doors with an fervent energy he had probably never associated with famously laid-back B.C. Our antics once inside the car did not let up, because several of the vicious black devils had flown inside with us. Was Saskatchewan Farmer worried? Frightened? Annoyed?
I have a feeling he was laughing.
We have no way of knowing for sure, though, because he never did come to the door. Maybe he was too beside himself. Two women babbling incoherently and flinging themselves about in a driveway is a scene that would probably slay the dourest of Saskatchewan farmers, but continuing just as crazily inside a rocking car must have pushed him right over.
Sometimes I wonder, does he still tell people about the day Saskatchewan’s black flies took on two of B.C. innocents and won? Has he stopped laughing yet? Probably not.