Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Reserving My Place in Bird Hell

Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love animals. I grew up with cats, a dog, rabbits, parakeets, fish and even an occasional rodent. If I could open my windows each morning and have sparrows, squirrels and raccoons dress me, I totally would. I even run a Spider Rescue and Relocation Program for the arachnids that accidentally end up in my apartment.

Knowing all of this now, you’ll understand why last night’s commute was probably the most traumatic one in drive-home history.

I was coming down Glenoaks, like I always do, and when I saw the light at Vinedale was red, I turned into the corner strip mall’s parking lot to avoid sitting at the intersection. Like I always do. The car in front of me was pulling this same shortcut tactic, and I’ll admit it, I was following them rather closely. So close, in fact, that I didn’t see what was happening on the ground in front of my car.

And then I felt a slight bump. I figured I had run over a can or a takeout box (there’s a restaurant in the complex).

But when I looked in my side mirror, I saw feathers. Dear Lord. I looked in my rearview and saw a pigeon flopping on the ground. Immediately, I burst into tears. I didn’t know what to do—should I have put it in the car and taken it to the vet? Run over it again to put it out of its misery? All I could do was hold my hand over my open mouth and try to see the road through my tears. I just kept driving. What if it was a mommy bird with a nest? More tears.

It was an accident. I didn’t mean to run over the bird. I tried to calm myself with this rationalization. Then I started thinking about A New Earth and how Eckhart Tolle says we are all just energy—so even if the pigeon died, its energy would still be here and maybe go on to inhabit the body of another pigeon still in the egg.

This didn’t solve the issue of my uncertainty over whether the bird was actually dead or suffering in that parking lot. Should I have flipped a U-turn and snapped its neck or something? I’d seen people do that on TV when they were going to cook a chicken…and then it hit me…I was planning to have teryaki chicken for dinner…and for a second I laughed because here I was all worried about one bird when I was just going to go home and eat another one…and then I felt even more like a terrible person. I am a mass bird murderer. And there is a place reserved for me in bird killer’s hell.

Mr. Wonderful assured me that he’s seen pigeons act like they’re dying and then just fly away…I’m not so sure I believe him.

8 comments:

Michael C said...

The philosophical dilemma here is a difficult one. First, I am sorry. And second, I shall change the subject.

I watched Mike Rowe help artificially inseminate turkeys on Dirty Jobs the other night. I will be eating beef for Thanksgiving for the remainder of my life. See, it kind of took your mind off the pigeonic tragedy, but was somewhat related to your post because I was writing about fowl.

geekhiker said...

Are you sure you were the one who hit the bird? I've hit a bird before, unfortunately, but I don't remember the car having any physical reaction at all. So it may very well have not been you. (Yes, I know, this doesn't solve the dilemma of what to have done... sorry, I have no answer...)

Nice to meet a fellow spider catch-and-releaser...

Alysha said...

Wow - Way to go for being such an incredibly caring person. I love animals, but one less pigeon doesn't seem like such a terrible dilemma. I wish I had the courage to be a catch and release spider girl, I really don't like to kill them, but really am incapable of carrying them all the way to the front door... sometimes Christina rescues them on my behalf.

brookem said...

Goodness, that would really get to me too. I hit a possum once in college on my way home from the bar. I was flipping out. Wondered the same things as you- should I go back over it? Or what?

I feel your pain!

Hannah said...

Oh I am so sorry! You poor sweetheart. You reacted just as I would have. I once witnessed a squirrel get run over and I cried my eyes out.

I know that it is easier to say than to do, but don't be so hard on yourself. You didn't do it on purpose. That's why they are called accidents.

It is sometimes hard to care so much isn't it?

P.S. you should guest post on my friends blog.

semichrmd said...

Oh no. Hopefully the little bird was just thrown for a loop and was able to shake it off and fly away, I agree with gh - I can't imagine a little birdie caushing any physical reaction in your car. And Spiders....you are a brave, brave woman.

Mel Heth said...

Michael C - You deserve a medal for so expertly changing the subject for something delightfully funny and completely revolting. Well done! :)

Geekhiker - I like your thinking. Yes, someone else probably did it. A little boy with a slingshot...

Alysha - I will have to teach you the failsafe spider catching technique. It involved a clear glass and a thick piece of paper (junk mail works great).

Brookem - Thanks, sister. I would've been a wreck with the opossum.

Hannah - I know, right, Animal Lovers Unite! Every time I see something dead in the road, my heart sinks and I want to trade the Prius for a bike.

Semi - I drove past the parking lot and looked in and didn't see him so I'm going to pretend he shook it off and flew away...

Michael C said...

OOOH, I like metals. My favorite is titanium. Oh, you said medals, huh? That's different...

Have a great weekend!!! Hopefully it'll be warm enough for you ;-)
I swear my outdoor thermometer is reading 106 right now...