This is a story of a bear, a bear that was hungry and maybe a little jealous that based on the size of my tummy, I probably didn’t leave her any leftovers for her delightful Mexican food buffet…the dumpster.
I have been stating for years that I want to see a bear in the wild, and by in the wild I mean not kept in a zoo or sanctuary but also while I can safely sit within the confines of my vehicle with windows and lockable doors. Well if any of you have read the eye-widening book, The Secret, you will understand my amazement that this constant wishing to the universe finally came true! Well sort of, the second time…
As we rumbled and bounced into California on the 101’s torn up and mudslide riddled roadway, we decided cooking was “too much work”. Which only means, going out for dinner! Because obviously not eating isn’t a real option. So, we bounce back into town and find a highly rated Mexican restaurant, Perlita’s Authentic Mexican. We park the truck in the back and stroll in. After chowing down on far too many chips and ingesting a weeks worth of veggies via salsa, our dinner arrives! We proceed to shove our faces with some of the BEST Mexican food I’ve personally had in a very long time. It was freakin awesome! And I mean we shoved our faces, I would have licked the plate clean if I wasn’t constantly reminded that it isn’t “publicly acceptable”.
After paying the bill and one final potty break before hitting the bump-a-licous road ahead. I, while barely (ha) processing life through my food coma eyes continue to rub and hold my tummy like an 8 month pregnant woman, see a piece of garbage flying through the air. Confused, I look at the dumpster, only to see a person in a bear suite! But, it wasn’t a person or a bear suite, it was an adorably fluffy, extremely large, soul staring, mass of a creature, a frickin’ BEAR! As we locked eyes for a length of time that can only be described as love at first sight, she, intimidated by my food-baby maternal instincts to fight to the death, climbs out of the dumpster (still, mind you, lovingly staring into my eyes). I feel my body flooding with adrenaline, while I “decide” to either fight, or flight. Being a person of extraneous pride and little running abilities, I took a big breath, stared her right in her little black eyes, raised my fists and… I RAN! I ran like a damn gazelle!
As I’m turning left around corner one, I wonder where my partner in crime is? Was it not a piece of garbage tumbling through the air but a piece of Liz? I didn’t see her in the truck, I didn’t see her behind the restaurant, I think to myself, “bear lord DEAR lord” I must check to see if I can find her on the other side of the building! I glance inside the restaurant as I sprint by the open front doors, at speeds only a deflated balloon can relate to. As I reach the other side I find mamma bear shoulders deep back in the buffet bin. Still no sight of Liz. I take off around the building again, turning right around corner number 3, and I spot her through a car window. “LIZZZZZ!!!” I say, in a tone that resembles a baby pig being smothered by a marshmallow pillow. She turns to see me, arms flailing around as if being attacked by invisible bees, just in time to spit out, “a bear, a bear, a bear! Get your phone!” She, somehow confused by my perfectly articulated words, gathers context clues and follows me around to the back, cameras swiped and ready for snapping! No bear…only the sweet remains of our excessive use of packaging materials scattered around the parking lot and slight sway of the bushes where she disappeared into the dark forest, never to return again.
I’ll tell you a secret, she returned approximately 10 minutes later, as we comfortably sat within our cozy vehicle, taking endless pictures and videos of her, disappointed by the lack of refried beans added to her buffet.