Two of Two Cuckoo Bird Things That Have Happened Along the Way: The 911 Call 

When Mrs. G. was driving from Idaho to Utah, she came upon an unsettling sight.



Up ahead of her on the freeway there was a bright orange plane that was flying low to the ground on the right...



would quickly dive down on what appeared to be the freeway and...



fly back up to the left.

Mrs. G. started hyperventilating, sure it was some unhinged, recently fired postal employee/part-time pilot taking out cars one by one on the freeway -- phase one of some sort of I Hate You Unfair World manifesto.

After watching this go on for several minutes (Mrs. G. was fortunately miles from the kill site), she called 911 and reported the psycho killer.

911 operator: 911, how can I assist you?

Mrs. G: There is this plane that looks like it's purposefully crashing into cars on 80 eastbound.

911 operator: Where are you located?

(Mrs. G. gave her approximate location)

911 operator: Have you seen the plane actually hit a car?

Mrs. G: No, I'm miles down the road.

911 operator (not at all freaked out like Mrs. G.): Describe the plane.

Mrs. G: It's bright orange. It's definitely not a commercial plane.

911 operator: Stay on the line, but hold please.

(Mrs. G. watches the continuing carnage up ahead)

911 operator: What you are seeing is a crop-dusting plane. It flies across the freeway to dust crops on each side of it.

Mrs. G: Oh, I'm so sorry to have bothered you. I'm from Washin--

911 operator: Is there anything else I can assist you with?

Mrs. G. (feeling moronic): No. Again, I'm so sorry. I'm sure you must get this all the time.

911 operator: ...................................You have a good day, ma'am.

Mrs. G: OK, thanks for your help. You don't have to call me ma'am. It makes me feel--

(CLICK...the 911 operator hung up before Mrs. G. finished)

So, it was a crop duster.

Good to know.

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Reader Comments (36)

As proven by Cary Grant in 'North By Northwest', crop-dusters can be pretty damned scary. I probably would have called 911, too!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKelley

Thank you for the validation. Down Day is over. Heading to have lunch with Lisa in Coffeyville and on to an evening in Tulsa with Molly.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermrs. g.

After you got over the crop-dusting scare, did you notice how beautiful all those potato fields were? I've made that drive a hundred times, back and forth to my in-laws house.
You're bound to run into some crop dusting in the midwest. Now you're prepared!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJenny in NC

I just about wet my pants, best road trip post yet!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Tears in my eyes. "plane not a penis". Bwahahaha! Well done, Mrs. G.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterilyanna

These are good travel tips!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermeredith@whynot

The visual aids made this post!!!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBecca

Good to know indeed. Seriously, I would have called 911 as well.
Have a blast tonight!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErin

Between this post and the one about the rest stop, I am having a very hard time keeping you to myself, Mrs. G.! Can't wait to meet you.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermartha

Mrs. G, your adventures are so...ADVENTURESOME. Keep reporting those details. We love it. Oh, the visual aids are terrific, too.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter1Les

Yeah. If it was a penis, the "exhaust" would be coming out the other end.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterunmitigated me

Honestly Mrs. G, you never really do know what's going to happen on I-80. And in the hinterlands, it's always a good idea to make sure the interstate system hasn't suddenly been transformed into an interplanetary landing strip. On the plus side, great news that you got cell service way out there in the middle of IdaUtah!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDATdeborah

You have just made my day...possibly my week. I'm STILL laughing...

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda G (no relation)

Okay, this is freaky. I called 911 from a state other than my own on Monday as well. It was an actual emergency, though.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJenn @ Juggling Life

Somewhere, you just KNOW you made that operator's day :).

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTC

Mrs G, allow me to share my dumbassery so you won't feel alone. Last week we bought a new(ish) car and were told when it was time to drive it home there was only one key and fob. The salesman said I could get another key cut, no problem. Except I can't, these are mini computers as I learned after a day of running around to dealerships. When the salesman called, acting like my new best friend, I read him the riot act. It was not pleasant.

Yesterday I spent over $300 on a new programmed set. Today the original dealership called. They found the second key. I am going to have to slink in to pick it up, then hide it so the husband doesn't find out I spent all that money unnecessarily.

Feel a little better? At least yours didn't leave a hole in your credit card.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterc

c, that dealer should pay for those keys. it was their error. I would have done the same thing to get new keys.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAngAk

Mrs. G, I totally understand your fear and confusion about the crop dusting plane. Years ago, when I lived in California and I was driving on the 101 through Camarillo, THE EXACT SAME THING happened to me! Except I didn't call 911. I pulled over on the side of the freeway though, because I thought that mofo plane was going to crash. Scared me to death.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJayme L.

My husband took a ride in a biplane a couple of weeks ago, and the pilot was a cropduster in cropdusting season. He was leaving the following week (a week or so ago) to go out west to spray crops. Wonder if you came across the pilot we met. There aren't many of them because it's seasonal and dangerous. Small world, maybe. Funny story. I can hear the 911 operator telling her co-workers!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterknittergran


And I mean that quite literally, though fortunately my large ass is still attached. Laughing some of it off occurs to me as superior to the exercise bike, though, so keep posting, dear Mrs. G!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBriget

I would definitely call 911 if a plane that looked like a penis was flying too close to the freeway!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJessie

Ha! Having family in Idaho I've seen planes do this, it normally makes me want to run and hide from the spray but it does always worry me for the cars. I bet they do get calls like that all time. Cute story.

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLori Buff

Great visuals to go with a hoot of a story!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKKeller

Being from WA is no excuse, Mrs. G. On the east side of the state this is quite a common sight and often scares the holy crap out of me as I am driving along the county roads. Just saying....8-).

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Those are the best illustrations I've seen this year. I vote for orange penis plane as the next iteration of the Derfwad Manor logo!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteraphrodite

You had me at "plane not penis"

Oh how I adore you!

June 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCindy in Walla Walla


June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPatience

Do you think the controller put you on hold for a second so s/he could choke back his/her laughter? You defintely became family party fodder with that one Mrs G.

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertrash

That WAS funny.

Once when I was driving with my brother from Philly to San Diego, we were in Kansas and we saw a tractor trailer driving the wrong way on the interstate. We screamed really loud. Except it wasn't driving the wrong way. It was being towed by another tractor trailer. We didn't have cell phones, so we couldn't call 911.

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy G. (no relation)

i am laughing my ass off over here...."not a penis"...THAT is funny!!
and really....when you said it was an orange plane flying low, i thought "hello? crop duster."
(remind me to tell you the stories of the time, when i was 18, i worked for one summer as a flagger for a crop duster and his crop duster dad....heh heh heh. fun times.)

and yeah...you KNOW you made that operator's day...and no. no way did she tell her friends in the breakroom about your call.

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterdebKuroiwa

Crop dusters will do that every time. What's even weirder is how the SAME plane dusts crops by my mother in law's and up here by us--it's like having a bright yellow stalker swooping over your roof--during back-to-back weeks.

Just to warn ya 'fore you get here - at night, planes fly low over the neighborhoods. Reeallly low. Spraying for 'skeeters. I don't like it, but them bugs are big here.

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenternaomi

Love your diagrams and terminology, Mrs. G.! That alone, even without the whole story, is entertainment. Why don't you just cruise rest stops periodically and gather material for posts? Great stuff comes from those places.

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn

Amy G, that is hilarious!! All of this is too funny. The following commentaries keep makng it that much funnier. Love you Heather and thank you for making me laugh and think really hard until my brain hurts.

June 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJill

The first time you mentioned this I knew it was a crop duster. I have had the same optical illusion when driving up and down I% in California. That the operator actually looked into it is a hoot.

June 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrightside-Susan

I'm not sure which is funnier -- your post or the comments!
I, too, have been startled by a crop duster. At the time, I was a kid riding with my parents, who assured me what was happening was not the end of the world. In 2002, crop duster planes were looked upon suspiciously by many, many people... plane flying low? Call 911!

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