The Migration of the Urban Caribou

April 25, 2009

The urban caribou are not to be mistaken from their more tamer cousins, the Porcupine herd to the north. They are, in fact, much more wild than they appear, with appearances ranging from the slumped and baggy-jeaned males, to the raggy-haired females. Generally, urban caribou are a solitary creature, but twice a day – once in the morning, once more in the later morning – they come together in a great urban migration.

The migration itself starts in the late evening when the sun begins to set. The caribou are seen leaving their established homes, standing more upright and put together than they will be in twelve hours. The males are wearing their ball-caps with the bills forward, hoodies are stainless, and shoes are tied. Females are wearing their jackets, have a fresh scent of perfume clinging to them, and their shoes are tied as well. They wander out of their homes, closing the doors carefully behind them, locking them if need be. Depending on the time of year, they make their way to the taxis waiting for them, and the taxis form a caravan on the roads heading towards downtown. In the warmer parts of the year, the migration goes by foot over the bridge and towards the bar strips. They meet at the bars en masse, gathering in the queues to catch up on the week’s events, and bicker over who will be paying the cover charge and who will be paying the first round of drinks. More often than not, the dumber of the urban caribous ends up paying for both; but do not pity them for they are your newest best friend if you ever happen to come across one.

Inside the bars, the urban caribou blends in with the other bar attendees. It is extremely difficult for all, but the jaded bar regular, to distinguish them from the cougars, the young bucks, the bar owls, the fairy princesses, and the old bears. People are out to enjoy themselves, so separating themselves into different classes becomes unimportant. The distinction between the groups becomes clear once again when the lights of the bar come on at closing time. The cougars have left the bar with their prey, as have the young bucks – some having disappeared with a cougar at some point in the night. The bar owls are still perched at the bar sipping on their drinks, slurring their words with the bartenders, and only leave once thrown out. The old bears have long gone home to pass out and smoke their pipes, and the fairy princesses have been touching up their makeup throughout the night and look as perfect as when they entered the bar – most of the time, at least. What remains after these other creatures have left are the urban caribou.

The males now have their ball-caps slid to the side, or backwards, or flipped inside out, or are missing altogether and have a bad case of hat hair. The hoodies that started off fresh now have at least one stain running down the length of the front. Belts are looser, or undone completely, and their shoes are now untied with the laces dragging behind them. Unlike the fairy princesses, the female urban caribous have not been touching up their make-up. Or if they were, they did so while slightly inebriated causing the viewer to mistakenly think that the makeup was applied by a male urban caribou instead. Together, the urban caribou stand alone as a group, and file out of the bar towards the waiting cabs to go to the next party.

While at the house parties, it is unclear as to what occurs. No one really wishes to visit a house party where there are urban caribous to be found, or if they mistakenly walk into a house party and find urban caribous, they leave as quickly as they arrived. To be sure there is plenty of drinking and rabbling, spilt drinks, and perhaps some, um, pairings of females to males.

As the sun rises over the city, people are outside mowing lawns, and coffee is brewing, the next migration occurs. For unexplained reasons, these parties end around the same hour, even though no one is actually watching a clock while at these parties. The dumb caribous start the migration by freaking out at the hour of day and calculating in their heads how many hours of sleep they will get before work/school – regardless, they will be late for work. Next go the females, escaping the males that are hitting on them, and then follow the males chasing after said females. The doors are almost always left open as they leave, or are slammed hard. At this point, the urban caribou is only able to think about three things: sleep, sex, and more drinking.

Down the sidewalks they come, a herd of slumbering, stumbling, swearing messes. Some wipe their noses after a little too much fun, arms slink around waists and then are thrown off, and the foolish caribou cracks open a can stopping the herd in its footsteps for a moment, until they realize it is a Budweiser and not a Canadian or Kokanee. It always takes the urban caribou three times as long to make it home compared to the time it took them to reach the bars, but time is something the urban caribou has on its side. They split off into their pairings or walk alone once they pass a few blocks from their house parties, and when they enter their homes, they crash out to sleep hard.

The urban caribou needs plenty of rest. The migration of the urban caribou will begin anew in a matter of hours.

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