Friday, June 5, 2009
The life and death and life of a small bird
One day I hit a bird with my car, but it lived. (That would be a one-sentence summation of a story that I'm about to make about a thousand words longer, so if you want the short version, there it is. If you want the long version, well, keep going.)
Back in high school and again during a college summer, I worked at Dunkin' Donuts, which was a mixed bag. I hated working around coffee so much - the stores are so small and the brewing almost constant, meaning the scent eventually burrows under your skin and into your nose for days at a time. I also gained a ridiculous amount of weight because of the "free" donuts and bagels ("free" because we just took them).
But the plus side was a surprisingly decent wage - minimum wage plus tips meant I would make around $150 to $450 in a week - and some good people working there. In case you forgot, this entry was originally about a miraculous bird, and I'm steering the conversation right back there with my talk of good people at Dunkin' Donuts.
One such good person was my neighbor Bethany, who also went to high school with me. She's a year or two younger, and outside of a random art class, I don't think our paths ever crossed in high school. But our parents were friendly at the time, and she started working at Dunkins, so she would often bum a ride to there and to school with me in the mornings.
At this point in time, my Car Coolness Cuotient (see what I did there?) was impossibly low. I mean, I loved my car, because it only had 37,000 miles or so on it, but absolutely no one else should have, and for good reason. It was a 1986 Plymouth / Chrysler Reliant [left]. Yes, that's right, I don't even know the make, because it would switch depending on what mechanic was looking at it. Worse, it was tan, and it had plenty of dents in it. It only had a couple redeeming qualities - bench seats in the back and front, a CD player that I installed that kind of worked before the button got jammed, and it almost never broke down. It also had a cool nickname - The Relizzy.
However, because I was slightly older than some of my other friends, we did do some riding around in it, and it meant Bethany would get a ride into work with me. As we were passing by the bus company on Switch Road, I was doing my usual 55 to 65 m.p.h. in a 35 m.p.h. zone, because as usual, it was going to be a razor thin margin between "late" and "too late" to work. ("Late" is within five minutes, "too late" is more than five.)
If I recall correctly, I didn't even see the bird - Bethany screeched out and told me to stop, because she was convinced that I hit a bird. She finally guilted me into it, saying that it could be dying on the side of the road. I am a sucker for cute animals. (Fuck cows, they're delicious.)
Anyway, I turned around and drove back to roughly where it happened, and pulled aside so that Bethany could look for the thing. I was shocked when she came back with it in her hands. It was like a bizarre spoof of the Monty Python Flying Circus parrot sketch, as Bethany said it was still alive, but barely breathing; I think it was a sparrow or something else small, since it fit in her hands, and she is a small person.
As previously mentioned, we were late for work and possibly now too late, so I had to speed off with the bird in my car, as Bethany held it. We get about five minutes down the road, on Main Street in Hope Valley by the bank and post office, when Bethany yelps and I just see a blur streak across my face. I yelped, and I believe I almost hit a car on the other side of the road, before the thoughts connected in my head - Hey, that fucking thing just flew out the window!
So, that is my story about a bird. p.s. I think the bird may have shit on my car or on Bethany's hands, but I can't remember for sure.