Beastly mis-behavior

ktanner@thetribunenews.comJanuary 2, 2012 

Disrespect is everywhere these days, it seems …the impatient driver of the car behind me, who is angry because I drive just slightly above the speed limit so I don’t get another ticket … the caller who is upset with me because I’m not the person he thought he called … the reader who berates me because I had the nerve to write about both sides of an issue, not just the one she endorses.

Sometimes, you just want to hide under the covers all day.

To paraphrase Rodney Dangerfield, I don’t get no respect; even my yo-yo didn’t come back.

But I know things are getting out of hand when the fauna of the world starts giving me a hard time.

To wit: I was heading for an appointment, having hopped in the car and headed down the hill. At Spencer Street, near Bradford Circle, I came to a rather sudden, complete stop. My car was surrounded by the area’s resident flock of wild turkeys, who indicated with their laissez-faire attitudes that they weren’t going to be going anywhere else anytime soon.

I tapped on the car horn, but got no reaction from the big birds. I leaned out the window and yelled, and was still totally ignored. I tried edging the car forward a bit to nudge the big birds to one side of the road or the other. Some birds that had been lurking at the back of the car then moved around to the front.

Disregarding the neighbors, I leaned on the horn briefly. One tom turkey slowly turned his head, looked at me for about 10 seconds, then casually looked away. I’d just been flipped off by a turkey.

That incident reminded me of when 19-year-old me was scooting around in my spiffy TR-3 sports car and zipped around a corner, glimpsing a large dog off to the side of my driving lane.

As I completed the turn, the dog ran right in front of me. Although I stood up on the brake, I couldn’t stop in time. The car screeched to a halt, but not before it hit the dog.

I was awash in sorrow and shock, with tears streaming down my face. I began climbing out of the car to check on the dog, but then the dog actually got up. And up. And up!

It was a MUCH bigger dog than I’d thought.

The seemingly unhurt animal walked over to my side of the car, looked DOWN at me sitting there in the driver’s seat, gave me the canine version of “How dare you!” and then proceeded to stomp across the car’s hood.

It walked off toward a nearby house, obviously heading for home.

Flipped off by a dog, too …

Then, in mid-December, I joined my coworkers at The Cambrian in observing what appeared to be a wing-wounded blue jay. It was hopping around on the office’s parking area, looking miserable and woebegone.

Interim Editor Bill fed the bird, which perked up a bit.

I got ready to leave, heading for an assignment. The jay promptly dove under my car and wouldn’t come out. I got down on all fours on the driver’s side of the car, and saw the bird hiding behind the passenger’s side back tire. I got up, scurried over there and crouched down to find the jay now behind the driver’s-side tire.

We played this game for a little while.

I consulted with my coworkers, asking (facetiously, I swear) if perhaps we had ourselves a con-artist bird.

I went back outside, climbed in my car and honked the horn. I got out, got on my knees and saw the bird underneath the car.

Enough!

I got in, slammed the door and leaned on the horn while backing up slowly. No little blue birdy splotches on the gravel, which was a good sign.

But as I drove away, a blue jay head popped out from under the car parked next to mine.

I swear that, with his little broken wing, he flipped me off, too.

Oh, Rodney, I understand, really I do.

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