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You Bad Lady! (by Steph @ The Red Clay Diaries)

When I first decided to invite other bloggers to guest post here on Hey Look a Chicken, I began with my friends and cohorts from The Fellowship of the Traveling Smartypants, which I started because I had this great idea that a few of us would take turns guest posting on each other’s blogs, but that got complicated with scheduling and I’m pretty sure math was involved. How did I make the jump from rotating guest posts to a blog about nothing? I don’t know. But that’s not important right now…

To date, many of my friends have written guest posts for me already. Some more than one. But Steph, going to great lengths to prove that I am NOT the boss of her, has waited until now to send me a guest post. Was it worth waiting for? I think so, yes. But how could you go wrong with someone who writes a blog post entitled Beware the Ass Clown? I’m sure you see my point. Here’s her Oh-so-fancy and official Bio:

Writer, wife, traveler, mom, blogger, humorist, editor, Spanish-speaker, social media admin for John C Maxwell (@johncmaxwell).

And now, after the longest intro in the history of HLAC, here’s Steph:

“You bad lady! Let us do living!”

His voice carried from the front door of the bus as I made my way back to my seat. I don’t know why he was complaining. It’s not like I did what I wanted to: yank that whistle out of his mouth and ram it up his nose.

All I did was shoulder my way between him and his mark.

You know, I really like foreign travel. And I don’t think I’m an Ugly American. I don’t whine at the lack of cheeseburgers in kosher restaurants. I resist the impulse to wander in large groups down the middle of crowded sidewalks. I LIKE foreign languages and I KNOW how hard it is to learn one, so I never make fun of nationals’ attempts to speak English to me.

See? I’m mostly a delight. But I really can’t help it if I react badly to two groups of people encountered by tourists in some countries: street vendors and lechers.

Maybe it was my first visit to Mexico City. Or more specifically, my first ride on the subway there. To get even more specific, it was my first …um… contact with the local populace.

Without going into graphic detail, I’ll just say that Mexico City is the first city I’d ever heard of to have (and need) women-only subway cars during rush hour. After that first ride, I developed the following strategies for travel as a woman on (unisex) subway trains:

  1. Stand in a group, whenever possible. With all the females in the center, surrounded by the guys. Kind of like how water buffalo protect their young from hyenas.
  2. Failing #1, always find a wall. And stand against it. Facing the rest of the train. With arms crossed and a vicious look in your eye.
  3. When entering or exiting trains (or really walking through any crowded area), pay attention to your immediate surroundings. And carry a backpack, slung low. Swinging it violently and unpredictably.
  4. If contact is made, don’t even try to guess where it came from. Your stinkeye will be answered by leering – but blank – stares from each of the 15 men pressed up against you by the crowd.

By the end of six weeks there, I had the stinkeye and wall strategy down. And on my final train ride, I knew I’d perfected the backpack swing when the guy I “accidentally” hit actually said “OOF!” and stumbled backward.

My strategy for dealing with street vendors came out of a less violating experience. Unless you count being “taken” for a sarape as a violation.

(I didn’t actually ever buy a sarape. I just like saying it. SARAPE.)

Charging tourists double seems to be the locals’ entertainment in those souvenir markets. And it annoys me. What annoys me more is when they take advantage of Westerners’ general openness. Make eye contact and they descend like vultures.

So on that day in Israel when Whistle Man shoved a pennywhistle (that he was selling for MUCH MORE than a penny) under the nose of the nice older lady in our group, and she looked him in they eye, smiled sweetly, and said, “No, thank you,” I knew it was…

My Time to Shine.

With a mighty leap, I caught up. She was shuffling a little faster toward the bus, still smiling apologetically.

“Tweedle-eedle-eedle!” he blew the whistle in her ear. “Only ten shekels! You want for your kids?! They like! See? I have beads too! Three string for twenty shekels! Is good deal!”

It was after I elbowed him in the ribs, got between them, and said NO in his face with my best vicious expression that he called me a Bad Lady. But he let my sweet friend scramble onto the bus.

Personally, I think Mr. Whistle should be grateful that I wasn’t carrying a backpack.

Just sayin.


To read more from Stephanie Wetzel, visit her at The Red Clay Diaries and be one of her thousands of adoring followers on the twitter at @redclaydiaries.

What DO you do with a Voodoo Doberman? (by Stephanie Wetzel)

I asked Steph of the Red Clay Diaries to guest post for me roughly six months ago.

Then I asked her again.

Then I said, “Steph, seriously – just give me SOMETHING!”

So she says, “Like what?”, and I say, “Voodoo Doberman.” So she says, “Oh, okay.”

(insert sound of crickets chirping here)

Then I say, “You’re going to have to email it to me, because I’m can’t do EVERYTHING!” Then she called me pushy or something like that and says, “You’re not the boss of me!”

(That might not be our conversation verbatim, but pretty darned close.)

Without further adieu, Here’s Steph of the Red Clay Diaries:

Based on the blog name, you might think that as an outsider, I am making fun of the rural South. But here’s the truth:

I grew up in California, but in the part that nobody knows about: central California. During my teen years, my family lived in a single-wide mobile home – with the wheels still on – on one dusty acre behind my parents’ junk store.

Yes. Junk store.

Surrounded by cotton fields and dairies, our household consisted of four people, five dogs, one horse, and anywhere from five to twenty chickens.

One of our dogs was named Buffalo, and he had issues with cats. He hated them. When we moved to the country, he quickly transferred this animosity to the chickens. In fact, Buffalo made it his mission to purge our property of poultry.

I heart alliteration.

My dad built a Buffalo-proof pen, so the dog spent most of the day glaring through the wire at his feathered enemies. He was biding his time, because he had learned that my little sister wasn’t consistent at latching the chicken gate. She forgot about once every three months.

Chickens being, well, chickens, an open gate drew them out into the yard. And to their demise. It never happened when we were home, so here’s what we gathered from forensic evidence:

Buffalo waited until all the chickens left the pen. Then he systematically killed them. And stacked them in a neat pile against the fence. Obsessive-compulsive? We never knew for sure.

My parents tried every solution, but Buffalo could not be broken of his chicken habit. As a last resort my dad tried something that the old-timers swore by: letting the animal live with the consequences of his actions – literally.

So, after the next killing spree, my dad chose a dead chicken – our biggest rooster, as it happened – and tied the carcass to Buffalo’s collar. The idea was to leave it there until your dog grew to hate chickens, and then he’d never go near them again.

So hanging from our Doberman’s neck, tied by the feet and dragging on the ground, was a chicken pendant. A chicken necklace. A chicken choker.

This training method did not have the desired effect. Buffalo soon adjusted to the weight and awkwardness of his new accessory. And apparently the smell. In fact, I think he kind of forgot it was there.

Days passed, and the rooster rotted in the 100-degree heat. We girls spent our time dodging a 90-pound dog as he dragged around what looked like a large feather duster. A large smelly feather duster that kept shedding body parts all over the yard.

Even my dad questioned his plan when he realized that he’d lost his junk store dog. He couldn’t really lock Buffalo and a dead chicken in the store every night.

So eventually Dad decided to remove the carcass, and there was much rejoicing in the land. But when Buffalo greeted us that morning, something was missing. At first it looked like the chicken had finally disintegrated.

But then we saw it: Buffalo had removed the chicken himself, by chewing it off at the feet.

The only thing hanging from his collar now, like the necklace of a voodoo queen, was a pair of large bright-yellow chicken feet.

See? Rednecks = my people. The soil may be red here instead of brown, but it feels like home to me.

In your FACE, Jeff Foxworthy!


To read more from Stephanie Wetzel, visit her at The Red Clay Diaries and follow her on the twitter at @redclaydiaries.