I am not a rustic. Not “country.” Not even a little bit. I know, this shocks some regular readers who will say, “I am shocked: I pictured you as a guy who milks cows and shears sheep.”
Well, no. No, I’m not country folk. I am not city folk, either. I am suburb folk. A member of that hardy, salt-of-the-earth, soccer dad, Target-shopping, private school tuition-paying, mall-cruising, TV watching, SUV driving, anti-depressant swallowing, social drinking, flirting pathetically with waitresses who think you remind them of their dad, oh my God my life is empty and boring and how has it come to this, tribe.
Where was I?
Oh, yeah: wild boar.
Here in Italy the nationally mandated dinner hour is 8:00 pm. In the privacy of our home we sometimes violate this rule, risking the wrath of the Meal Time Enforcement Police. (Penalty? A year without antipasto.) But of course when we eat in restaurants we have no choice but to knuckle under to the heavy hand of The Man. (L’uomo.)
So, we’re usually driving home about 10:00 pm or so, because, as many of you know, there is no force known to man, no threat, no blandishment, no sob story, no special pleading that can convince an Italian waiter to present you with your dinner check until two hours have passed.
We drive through some fairly rustic territory on the way home. And there are animals. So far we have seen:
1) Gigantic rabbits. (Hares.) These are fun because they don’t seem to get the whole concept of running away at right angles to the car. They just flee in a straight line, directly away from you, down the road. You can drive behind the ninnies for half a mile before it occurs to them to hang a left and escape.
2) Pheasants. There’s a nice pheasant couple that wait by the side of the road and as soon as we drive up they dart out in an attempt to cause us to swerve and plunge to our deaths. Never fails. They hide in the brush, chatting (as pheasants will,) then they hear our car. ”Here they come! let’s run in front of them. It’ll be great!”
3) Porcupines. Big ass porcupines with quills from six inches to a foot long. They don’t scurry. They meander. They are not afraid of you, and if you attempt to drive over them they will totally stick quills in your bumper. (Porcupines are so arrogant.)
4) Boar. Wild ones. Like there’s another kind.
These creatures we first saw in a brief headlight flash and decided they were aardvarks. Until Wikipedia explained, “Aardvarks? Seriously? Ardvarks live in Africa, you suburban imbeciles! Why not giraffes, geniuses? Why not the Italian Hippo while you’re at it? Oh, look! It’s the rare Tuscan polar bear. Idiots.”
A couple of nights ago we hit the boar extravaganza. As we’re driving home in the dark, somewhere between eight and twelve boar piglets come rushing out across the road. Jostling and shoving and finally deciding to head into the vineyard. That was way cool. We actually applauded. Then we started up again and out dashed Mom and Dad boar. Big, long-nosed, (like aardvarks) hairy and a little scary pigs. They tore right across our path in hot pursuit of their piglets.
The entire wild boar clan. Right there out in the open. Probably no big thing for rustics, but exciting and a little disturbing to suburb dwellers. Boar can hurt you if they get it into their heads to do so.
Anyway, since then, whenever I walk the dogs at night I shine the flashlight around for boar. You never know. My plan, in the event of wild boar attack is to let go of the leashes, hope the boar go after the dogs, and run like a little girl. (Not our little girl, she’s brave.)
My alternate plan involves releasing the pug into the wild where he might be adopted by the boar family and raised as one of their own. He’s the right size, the right shape, and he snorts like a pig, so I think he’d be perfectly happy with his new boar family. If not, maybe the porcupines would take him in.