Carriage Driver, Mark Orfila, has worked in the French Quarter with carriage mules for about 5 years now. As a father who's raised two lovely kids, his experience working with our mules seems oddly family to the early days of parenthood.
10 Reasons Why Mules Are Like 1500 lb Toddlers
- Oversize fears of everyday objects. A plastic bag blowing down the street or a discarded couch on the sidewalk can send a mule into a full-on tantrum. A few words of encouragement usual helps us get past the scary plastic bag.
- Speaking of tantrums, if you think that a spoiled toddler in the checkout line can create a lot of drama, just wait till you see a mule demanding a treat with every trick at his disposal.
- Dirty diapers. We're talking ten pounds of wet stinking mule poo in a single dump sometimes! It's our job as carriage drivers to keep the diapers empty.
- Hating baths. (To be fair some mules -- like some toddlers -- love baths.)
- Needing routine. Even minor changes to a route can sometimes be stressful. We try to do our best to keep them on new routes so that they don't develop bad habits!
- All-around stubbornness (as stubborn as a mule), which truly is also a sign of their intelligence. They know they can win.
- Testing limits.
- Putting every disgusting thing they can find in their mouths.
- Rough/mean play. Ever wonder where the expression "horseplay" comes from?
- BUT... at their best, they can be incredibly sweet and affectionate.
When I started driving the carriage five years ago, a colleague said to me, "Working with a mule is like working with a 1,500 pound 3-year-old." Four and a half years later I'm still discovering how true it is.