A Note to the Reston Association From Some Vienna Residents

The animals at the Reston Zoo are asking for a few days off.

Dear Reston Association,

Most of us have lived here for a while.  We're familiar with the soupy, swampy season you call summer.  We are the animals of the .

Personally, as a bison, I've got it a bit tougher than most on account of my hairdo, but I'm one of the more rugged members of the bovine family, and I appreciate the fact that nobody has tried to shoot an arrow into my ample rump ever since I got to Vienna.  Most years I'm okay with my summer job and I like the neighborhood.

But I've got to be honest with you guys.  Today has been a little rough for me.  It's like the planet has decided to grill me in my own skin.  I'm not sure what a heat index is or what it means to be 110 degrees, but you need to get me and my posse to a cooler spot.

That camel chick used to be kind of pretty for a girl who spits, but her hump is getting all wilted and she keeps moping that it's not the heat but the humidity.  Homegirl will not shut up about how things are so much better in the Sahara.  Somebody needs to get that lady an Evian and a fan.

And you know those lowlife goats that haven't ever turned down a grubby fist of corn?  Well, all of a sudden all they want is cold water.  I have seen each and every one of those devil-looking loudmouths lick food from the hands of kindergarteners who don't even wash after using the potty and now they've got nothing on their minds but clear, cool agua?

Now, I don't expect these folks in the center-hall colonials next door to take us in.  God knows a family does not want to clean up llama and alpaca droppings in the basement home theater.  But maybe you could let us camp out somewhere else in Reston.

Don't you have a vacant supermarket at Tall Oaks that we could use?  Nobody will even know we were there, and those lemurs in the corner know enough math to help you guys calculate a fair market lease rate based on square footage.  

You have to do something for those ring-tailed fellas.  For the past six hours, they've just been moaning and singing, "Marmoset there'll be days like this.  There'll be days like this, marmoset."

Come on, guys, what's a guy gotta do to get a little compassion for a brother?  It is so hot out there that the pot-bellied pigs are starting to smell a little like bacon.  Put us in a school bus and let us soak a little in one of the pools.  It doesn't even have to be .

We'll pay the assessment.  We'll become members.  We'll paint our houses whatever color you tell us.

Just please get us somewhere cooler.

John Farrell July 22, 2011 at 03:56 AM
Always nice to see Ms. Goff and Low rapidly circle the wagons around their colleague. Easy ladies, the tar and feathers have not been summoned. The column is labeled "opinion" not "humor." As a regular reader, I've come to understand that Ms van Engin frequently tries to make a point, sometimes a very sharp point, with humor. Humor is a delicate thing. Even Mecken and Buchwald struck out from time to time. In the age of Michael Vick, any suggestion of animal cruelty, even in jest, evokes strong negative reactions. RA gets a lot of criticism. Some of it is even justified. Combining those two volatile subjects on Reston Patch was a recipe for misunderstanding and offense. Consider this column a foul ball off of two already aching big toes. We look forward to the next plate appearance and hope for a gloriously high arching home run. BTW while the Reston Zoo may have a Vienna mailing address, most locals considered it to be in Reston as it is located at the corner of Baron Cameron and Hunter Mill but is not within RA's boundaries. Then again, I still get junk mail addressed to my home in "Herndon" with a 20191 zip code.
Justine van Engen July 22, 2011 at 10:46 AM
Mr. Farrell, Thank you for being one of the few members of the community who takes me seriously. Please allow me to clarify the very confusing and potentially incendiary matters in this column. 1. Ms. Goff and Ms. Low like me. I can't explain it. They just do. I receive emails every day from people who do not. 2. We will look into more accurate labels for my work to avoid future confusion. 3. H. L. Mencken and Art Buchwald were obviously funnier than I am because they were men. Putting that aside momentarily, I do not think that either ever wrote in the voice of an American Bison for humorous purposes and, thus, a comparison is not really possible. 4. Michael Vick owned a farm on which dogs were trained to fight one another unto death and I suggested that the Reston Zoo animals might be uncomfortable on a day when the heat index was 106 degrees. Maybe it's me, but one of these evokes a much stronger negative response. 5. Criticism of RA is entirely absent from this piece, whether or not it is justified. 6. You misunderstood. You were offended. 7. A kickball metaphor? Really? 8. The Reston Zoo is in Vienna. Nothing in Vienna is in RA's boundaries. 4.
Karen Goff July 22, 2011 at 12:08 PM
John Farrell - seriously? With the all school issues and the Master Plan criticism and traffic and bike lanes on Soapstone and myriad other community issues worth a comment, and you're criticizing a hypothetical talking bison and whether the Reston Zoo is actually in Reston? It is a officially a SLOOOOOOOOW news week. Except its not.
John Farrell July 22, 2011 at 12:28 PM
It's truly priceless how thin skinned the three of you are regarding anything that might be possibly taken as negative feedback.
Karen Goff July 22, 2011 at 12:32 PM
JF - It is truly priceless how thick headed the one of you is regarding anything that might possibly be taken as humor (or good manners, for that matter).
Salena Jo Day July 22, 2011 at 12:51 PM
I liked the talking Bison. I hope he contributes again. I also appreciate the writers at the Patch keeping me up to date on the things going on in Reston :)
John Farrell July 22, 2011 at 12:56 PM
1. it's good to have friends. 2. thank you 3. is there a more famous female satirist to whom you would prefer to be compared? 4. but each evokes a negative reaction, no? 5. gee, fooled me. 6. more confused and concerned that a more infrequent reader could have thought that RA did own the Pet Farm Park and wasn't taking care of its animals. 7. no fastpitch - a batter fouling a ball off her own big toes is painful, no? 8. that's why they proprietor's call it the Vienna Zoo. We could have a long exchange on where Reston begins and Vienna ends since the legal boundaries of each never actually meet and there's this large swath in between. It's almost a Rorschach test on a person's attitudes toward each community. Since the Post Office boundaries are fluid, (Reston was reference as Herndon by USPS well into the '80s and then there's the whole "Oak Hill" thing), they're really not much help. 4. ? or did you mean "40," an old newspaper shorthand for "the end."
lisa miller July 22, 2011 at 01:01 PM
Justine, I thought it was funny. Love, The Bison
John Farrell July 22, 2011 at 01:04 PM
Do you really consider Justine such a delicate flower that you must leap to her defense like a lioness at the mere posing of a question? She does an excellent job of taking care of herself.
Karen Goff July 22, 2011 at 01:04 PM
JF - I think you mean -30-. Signed, an old newspaper person.
John Farrell July 22, 2011 at 01:17 PM
you're not that old
Margaret Perry July 22, 2011 at 01:26 PM
Justine, once again enjoying getting to know you. My Aunt has a dog that writes their Christmas letter every year. It is actually one of the few that I actually read. Wherever the Reston Zoo is located, I know where it physically is. If someone told me they were going to the Vienna Zoo I would have no clue where it is located. If my landlord approves the Bison and his friends can take refuge in my basement. I understand I was without AC for 3 above 90 degree days a week ago. Please pass on my empathy to the Bison and his friends. Since the Reston Zoo promotes Reston, perhaps the kind folk of Reston and the Reston Assoc will take pity on them even if they are privately owned. I'll bring ice to share the next time I visit. Cheers and stay relatively cool the next few days.
Amanda Hamm July 22, 2011 at 01:42 PM
I have to say I found the article amusing yet true. I cannot imagine having such thick fur covering my body during these 100 degree days. In response to the JF-Editor Karen debate, it reminds me of a time long, long ago when I was in elementary school and a boy behind me kept tapping my shoulder and pulling my hair. Come to find out he had a crush on me. Anywho, I'm wondering if perhaps JF has a soft spot for these articles and pokes a stick at them to elicit a response? He sounds like a nice guy who is trying to get your attention. I could be wrong LOL
Karen Goff July 22, 2011 at 02:13 PM
John Farrell July 22, 2011 at 02:16 PM
And I thought my daughters were the only women who appreciated me. Serving on the RA Parks and Planning Advisory Committee (no, I didn't vote for the tennis building), I actually thought an RA facility had slipped our notice during our deliberations.
CR July 22, 2011 at 02:25 PM
Pardon me, but how is it that you can justify calling someone "thick headed" while also chiding another person for refering to someone else as "an arrogant piece of work"? Is it only name-calling in your mind when someone else does it? You speak of manners, but what I see in your venomous spitting is not only rudeness but also a lack of professionalism.
Karen Goff July 22, 2011 at 02:29 PM
CR - venomous spitting? I better check and see if my health plan covers that.
Bert Katz July 22, 2011 at 02:51 PM
CR...huh? i am missing your point here...
lisa miller July 22, 2011 at 03:12 PM
One of the camels venomously spit at me once. Maybe she was just hot.
Amanda Hamm July 22, 2011 at 04:25 PM
"Venomous spitting"? That sounds like a pre-existing condition. LOL
Humble Parent July 22, 2011 at 04:52 PM
You guys are going to get picked up as a reality show for BRAVO if you don't watch it. The ?? of Reston...
Karen Goff July 22, 2011 at 06:58 PM
Humble Parent - I am all about the Bravo shows, and I think the Real Housewives of Reston would be wildly entertaining (though I know few women who are housewives).
Amanda Hamm July 22, 2011 at 07:04 PM
I could never be a housewife...I would get extremely bored and possibly lose my mind. LOL
Friends of the Reston Regional Library July 22, 2011 at 07:20 PM
I thought it was funny too. Love talking bison. PBS used to run the Book of Virtues cartoon with Plato the talking bison. I didn't know he'd been put out to pasture in Reston/Vienna! Perhaps the heat is causing the sense of humor to slide right out of some folks' minds...
Amanda Hamm July 22, 2011 at 07:56 PM
That bison is pretty cool though. I took my daughter on the wagon ride around the safari part and when the huge bison came up and over the hill toward us, she was excited beyond belief. I have a picture of it sticking its tongue out to lick her! LOL
leslie sogandares July 22, 2011 at 10:02 PM
Dear Bison: I hear ya about this heat. My name is Lil' Buddy, and I live in the garage of some nice folks who hail from SoRes (that's Bravo-speak for south Reston). I have a pretty cush job, you see, maintaining the cold beveridges for the family and their friends.Most days, I chill in the cool cover of the garage, but this week has taught me a little something about being taken for granted. I'm sweating buckets in here trying to keep the inside fridge temps to a frosty 48 degrees, just so I can keep those Coronas and the 2-buck Chuck perfectly chilled for my 'rents. I'd love a day off. I'd be thrilled if someone would step into the inner sanctum, declare a heat emergency, and turn a fan on my front side. That's a love you don't get much in a summer of swelt. Call me, or hoof a text when you figure out that pool situation. I'm dying to try a back flip from the board. But leave that hot tub to the margarita machine. She's chill enough to get in these days.
Karen Goff July 22, 2011 at 10:22 PM
Don't listen to Lil' Buddy. He has a chest full of Skinny Cows, which the Bison's wife takes very personally, as well as a belly full of beer. Nothing worse than an arrogant garage appliance, I think.
Richard Holmquist July 23, 2011 at 02:29 AM
Mr. Sogandares - Please relax. We're not talking about just some old buffalo. This is an American bison who can write. One would assume she also has the manners to refrain from leaving any 'deposits' in the Uplands pool.
marion restifo July 25, 2011 at 04:12 PM
i thoroughly enjoyed your piece.
Connie Hartke July 28, 2011 at 05:28 PM
Thanks for the humor on this hot day, Justine!


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