Thursday, March 29, 2007

Fly away.

I commute to and from work. It’s not something I grumble much about. It’s a smooth ride. It takes around 20 minutes there and about the same back—going against the flow of traffic is a beautiful thing. It’s usually not a very eventful time in my day. I usually spend it listening to music that’s probably too loud. It’s either that or talking to a friends on the phone. Yesterday, for instance, I braved a slushy snowstorm with near-zero visibility on the way home. I also made myself hoarse singing along to my new Elvis compilation, Elvis 2nd to None. How can you not sing and clap along to a tune like “Mean Woman Blues”? Seriously.

Today, though, something interesting happened. I was on the phone to my pally Linda. When she wasn’t busy telling me to turn down my radio, she was trying to work out a time to go grocery shopping with Yours Truly. I’m gonna hunker down and get more organic in my habits and she’s gonna help me out. It’s time to get healthy. Well, healthier.

In the midst of all of that, however, I came across a pretty interesting sight—a bird that was flying way, way too low to the street. He was flying at speeds that topped 70 and 80 mph. I was transfixed. I kept thinking he was going to be hit by a car. From where I was watching, he had plenty of close calls, too. He was bobbing and weaving through the lanes, once even skimming his feathered chest atop a car’s roof. He was even kind enough to fly right alongside my window at one point, right in time with my car, just flapping like mad. I was amazed, flummoxed even. I was so intent on watching, I’m pretty surprised I didn’t run myself off the road.

I couldn’t get a clear read on what kind of bird it was, but it honestly looked not unlike some kind of pigeon crossed with a small hawk. If I were a bird watcher, I’d have a name readily available. In this case, I guess I was more of a bird gawker. Meanwhile, Linda had to put up with my excited observations, a virtual play by play of what was happening. She attempted to act excited in return, but was having a hard time seeing what I was seeing through my words. (I think she would have rathered I talk about baby spinach leaves or something.)

“He’s gonna get himself hit! Oh my gosh! I wish I could take a picture! I wonder if he’s hurt? Why doesn’t he aim himself towards a power line?”

I’ll dispel that rumor right now: it’s not true that birds don’t get hit. Cats don’t always land on their feet, either. When we lived in Missouri, I think my mom hit one every time we’d head into “the city” to go churchin’. We had our share of feathers all up in our Suburban’s grill. I always blamed the birds, though. I mean, they’re the ones that tried to fly across the street at the exact moment my mom was driving across it. Some were just too slow for their own good.

As for this one, there was no reason for him to flying with the rest of the cars. He didn’t have to be flying as fast as he was, either. But I see it this way—he was having fun. He was doing it because he could. Sure, he was taking some risks, but it was a slightly windy, gray day and he was passing his time by being a show-off. He knew exactly what he was doing. He was having a great time doing it. He had the means to do what he did, so why not do it? If I could award him an Indian name, I’d give him “Flies With Toyotas”. It fits, even if “Glides Next to Hondas” and “Keeps Up with Nissans” and “Craps on Audis” all work just as well. Limited possibilities there, really.

I lost sight of him after he was starting to get tired. Either that, or he’d decided to start flat out messing with the morning commuters. He’d slowed down to around 60 mph or so in the fast lane, effectively slowing the entire lane of traffic. All I could do was laugh and get myself to work. At least I had a story to share with Clint the Co-Worker once I got here.

His response was simple. “Seems like that would be the thing to do if you were a bird.” And I couldn’t help but agree.


Mr. Cougarford said...

Reminds me of the time two horses were galloping down the freeway. They weren't going 80, but seriously like 40.

And it reminds me of when the Grand Nelwin throws a stone in the air and says "Go in the direction the bird is flying!" and POOF the stone is a bird.

heatherlynn said...


plainoldsarah said...

i don't want to ever hit a bird. my parents did once on a road trip and the image is still scarred into my brain.

Dainon said...

I bet it hurt the bird more than it hurt you, though, right? Knowhutimean, knowhutimean?

Cindy said...


Sherpa said...

plainoldsarah--when I was 6 my grandma hit a pheasant while we were all in the car with her. I think we were on the highway so we were going about 45. Pheasants are big birds too--relatively speaking. So, what did my parents and grandparents do? We took it home and ate it. I still remember sitting on the steps with my grandpa and watching him pluck it..and eating that bird.

plainoldsarah said...

ack! does roadkill count as hippy food? i think it should.