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.