Down The Trail Of Madness

, , , | Legal | August 5, 2019

(I work in the national forest through a program that employs high school kids with no work experience and pays them minimum wage for five weeks Monday through Thursday. It is hard manual labor, but honestly, no one minds because it is often the only job available to them. We work in teams of six or seven people under a team leader and often will go into the forest with a park ranger to tell us what to do. Our team leader for the week is a barely-five-foot woman who looks fairly frail, but she is loud and can do more work than two of us combined. We are working on blocking off unauthorized ATV and motorbike trails. The forest service is very serious on blocking off unauthorized trails permanently. This trail has seen a lot of use and it is damaging to the forest. We dig four- to eight-foot-deep holes and stick twelve-inch cedar fence posts in them across the trail. The posts block the trail off all the way to the trees on the other side. We have just finished putting the posts in and cementing them down, and everyone else has left for their lunch break, but I am not hungry yet. I am still working on piling rocks around the blockade. We all are required to wear long-sleeve shirts, safety glasses, high-vis vests, and hard hats. The hard hats have the program’s logo clearly emblazoned on them. A guy comes roaring up to me on a very loud ATV, nearly hits me, drifts, and sprays mud all over my face. He is probably 6’2” and at least 250 pounds; I am 5’ 9” and maybe 140.)

Me: *unhappy, wiping mud off my glasses* “You almost hit me! What the f*** are you doing?”

ATV Guy: “You’re the one in the way! What are you even doing, anyway?!”

Me: “Blocking off unsanctioned trails.”

ATV Guy: “But why? There’s nothing wrong with them!”

Me: “Yes, there is. They destroy the ecosystem, and they are damaging a part of the forest that is trying to regrow.”

ATV Guy: “So what? People enjoy that trail.”

Me: “That’s not the point.”

ATV Guy: “Unblock it! I want to ride there!”

Me: “I am afraid I can’t do that, sir. If you have a problem with it I can lead you to my manager; she is on lunch break right now but you should only have to wait a little while.”

ATV Guy: “Fine! Where is she?!”

(I lead him to her and explain the problem. Then, I go get my lunch and start eating. In no less than two minutes, she is screaming at him at full volume and poking a finger in his chest with more ferocity than a disappointed southern grandma. He is shrinking back and she is chewing him for being an idiot and yelling at a fifteen-year-old kid.)

Manager: “WHAT EVEN IS YOUR PROBLEM, YELLING AT SOMEONE LIKE THAT, ALMOST HITTING THEM, AND ACTING LIKE THEY DID SOMETHING WRONG WHEN YOU ARE BEING THE IDIOT? HOW CAN YOU EVEN LIVE WITH YOURSELF, YOU COMPLETE IMBECILE? NOT TO MENTION ASKING HIM TO UPROOT SEVERAL POSTS SET FOUR FEET DEEP IN CONCRETE AND COVERED IN ROCKS AND BRUSH SO YOU CAN CONTINUE TO DESTROY THE ECOSYSTEM WE AND THE FOREST SERVICE ARE WORKING SO HARD TO PRESERVE! DISGRACEFUL AND DISGUSTING! GET OUT OF MY SIGHT AND LEAVE MY WORKERS ALONE!”

ATV Guy: “I–”

Manager: “NO, JUST GET OUT AND LEAVE!”

(He leaves. The park ranger working with us comes over asking what all the commotion was about. My manager answers with a full account and the park ranger just says we hope he leaves and we don’t have to deal with him again. We all go back to work and find him crashed into our blockade, with ATV tracks leading a few hundred feet perpendicular to the trail. Obviously, he’d tried to get a running start to crash through the barrier, which at that point was about five feet tall because we still wanted brush in front of it even when it decomposed and dried and flattened down. His ATV is totaled and he is, if possible, even more pissed. The park ranger tells us all to leave and we do. She gathers us up about an hour later.)

Ranger: “[ATV Guy] is in custody and is on his way to jail.” *pointing to my manager and me* “I need a detailed report from you, and then I need the rest of you to corroborate their accounts.”

(I filled out about four pages of forms, as did my manager, and my coworkers all signed as witnesses. As far as I can tell, the guy was arrested for the following charges: assault, destruction of private property — he ran over some poor guy’s tent; thankfully it was unoccupied — destruction of public property — denting the posts for the blockade — and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. He also had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for a previous crime that none of us were told about.)

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That Cost You Deer-ly

, , , , , , | Friendly | March 26, 2019

About one weekend a month, I do archery competitions where I walk with a group of four through the forest, shooting foam animals along a path. It’s idyllic, and it’s great to keep up with my archery friends.

One such weekend, the first target to shoot was a deer. We were standing 15 meters from it, one of us aiming, when a woman came screaming from her car which was haphazardly stopped at the side of the road.

Astonished, my friend quickly un-nocked his arrow as she lept between us and the target. We were shocked at her ranting until we deciphered that she was under the impression that our target was a real deer and it was tied in place. We tried to explain and to tell her to turn and look, but she was having none of it.

With other archers coming out of the woods to see what was going on, I slipped past her — a feat in itself because she was still desperate to protect this “poor animal” — and pulled the removable head off the deer.

Rendered speechless for a really long time, she then snapped out of it, yelling at us for shooting at tied-up animals as she stormed back to her car.

The people putting on the shoot traded out the deer — the only target visible from the road — for a two-meter-tall cobra that had been further down the path. No one bothered us about shooting at that thing.

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His Crowning Stupidity

, , , , | Legal | January 28, 2019

(I work for a small business that does horse trails through an area of public forest that is technically “Crown Land” — i.e. belongs to the Queen by default — and has some conservation rules. We have been having difficulty with a man owning a neighbouring property who wants to use the crown land as his own. He has gone as far as shooting at our rides from a distance, and police have been involved several times at this stage. After a long day of work, in which we dismantled some obstacles he left on the land, he pulls up at our worksite to yell out of his car. It is just me, a teenage girl, and my boss, a short, middle-aged lady.)

Neighbour: “You cut my fences!”

Boss: “No, we haven’t. We don’t go on your property.”

Neighbour: “You cut the fence by the river!”

Boss: “The river isn’t on your land. It’s crown land. It’s illegal to fence off public land for your own use.”

Neighbour: *now shouting* “I own up to the river edge—“

Boss: “No, you don’t. Your property line is 30m from the river.”

Neighbour: “I have permission from the owner to use it!”

Boss: “No, you don’t. Crown land has no owner.”

Me: *mostly to myself* “Well, it does have an owner.”

Boss: “What?”

Me: “The Queen?”

Boss: “Oh, my God.” *to the neighbour* “Are you trying to say the Queen was like, ‘Oh, sure, no problem’? How dumb are you?” *loudly, to me* “Hang on while I call the police.”

(The neighbour left immediately. We continued to destroy every fence he built illegally to block our rides.)

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Their Animal Knowledge Is Pretty Crappy

, , , | Right | November 1, 2018

(I work at an observation tower in the woods. There are over five square miles of forest surrounding it. It’s my turn to watch people on tower top for safety reasons.)

Guests: *as they pass by me* “Hey, there’s some poop on the first floor.”

Me: “Okay, thanks. I’ll take care of it.”

Guests: “So… you do allow dogs on this thing.”

Me: *firmly* “No.”

Guests: *incredulous look* “So, parents just let their kids poop on the tower?!”

Me: *looks around all the FOREST we’re standing in* “I really doubt it.”

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Not A Picture-Perfect Family

| Related | May 26, 2017

(I’ve never particularly liked having my photo taken — mostly because my parents always insist on taking way too many of them and often force me and my siblings to stand for the same picture multiples times. As a result, I usually get frustrated and annoyed pretty easily by this. One year, my parents and I take a holiday and one day we decide to go on a bike ride through the woods. During this trip my dad has already taken around 10-15 photos of us. Since we have haven’t seen each other for a while I’m pleasant at first but I’m beginning to get annoyed. We stop by a lake to relax.)

Dad: “[My Name].”

(I look up to see he’s beckoning me for a picture; I shake my head immediately.)

Me: “Dad, can we not do pictures now? I just want to relax.”

Dad: *jovially* “Aww, don’t be a grump. Come have a picture with your Mum!”

Me: “Can we please do this later? I’m little tired right now.”

Dad: “Oh, don’t be such a baby! Come for one picture.”

Me: “Dad, you have lots of pictures already. Why do you need another right now?”

Dad: “Look, just come and have ONE PICTURE!”

Me: “No! I just want to enjoy the view and relax right now.”

Dad: *shouting* “STOP BEING A BABY AND COME HAVE A PICTURE!”

Me: “I’m not the one throwing a temper tantrum here!”

Dad: “For God’s sake! It’s a simple picture. What the h***’s the matter?”

(Finally my mum chimes in; even she has grown sick of this.)

Mum: “Look, just leave it, okay? Clearly he doesn’t want to do one!”

Dad: “He needs to stop being a baby!”

Mum: “I said LEAVE IT! You have plenty of pictures; now stop acting stupid!”

(My dad walks away from us. A few moments later I see him very indiscreetly trying to take a picture of me!)

Me: “DAD, KNOCK IT OFF!”

(He was very quiet and grumpy the rest of the ride. Later that day he tried laying into me about my ‘poor attitude’ and how my acting like this ‘won’t get you anywhere.’ I just cut him off mid-flow asking why on earth he insisted on making such a big scene and acting like a child when I clearly said no? Quickly he dropped the subject and didn’t mention it again. I know it’s a good thing to have someone who loves you enough to take your picture, but in my parent’s case, it’s like overkill.)

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