Tuesday, July 8, 2008
It was late Sunday afternoon. I was driving home from shopping. On my way back, I noticed that the car was low on gas. I hated filling up the car with gas. My husband always filled it up for me every weekend. But lately he wasn’t doing this. He was slacking. I mean I wasn’t raised to pump my own gas. He knew this. Why was he doing this to me? Why me?
I whined and moaned internally and got the gas. I was going to go home and talk to him. I was thinking of a plan while I was driving. I was very close to home when it happened. I saw a rather huge bird flying very low, almost touching the road. And the next thing I knew, it flew into my car. At least I think that’s what happened. I heard a loud thump and next thing I knew there was a huge bird in the middle of the road dead.
I was shocked. I slowed down and pulled over. Oh my God! I had just killed a bird. I had never killed anything. But now I had killed a bird. I was shaking. I didn’t get out of my car. I didn’t know what to do. I frantically looked for my cell phone but couldn’t find it.
I noticed that a black pick up truck had pulled over and a man got out to look at the bird. He started directing traffic so no one would run over the poor bird. Like I did. I finally got over the car and ran up to him. “I am so sorry! I didn’t see the bird. It just flew into my car. It was an accident.” He was calm and I was shaking. I couldn’t speak. I felt so ashamed. He looked at me calmly and said with a Texan drawl. “Don’t worry maam. I’ll take the care of the bird. You can go if you want to.”
Obviously he did not want to deal with a near hysterical woman on a verge of a nervous break down.
I couldn’t look at the bird. So I looked at his pick up truck. He had a woman in there and a little three-ish year old boy. Oh my god! I had exposed this little boy to violence. I had tainted him for life. I said, “Where did the bird come from? Is it a duck?” He replied, “No maam it is a goose. Looks like it got lost. You can go if you want o. I will take care of it.”
I needed my husband to more than oxygen in my lungs to take care of this. I said, “Will you please stay with the bird? I need to get my husband. He’ll know what to do. I promise I will be back. I live a minute away from here.” He nodded and I ran back to my car and rushed home.
I ran into my house and yelled, “Help! Please some here quickly. You need to come with me. I hit a bird. You need to take care of it. You need to go with me.”
My husband was in the kitchen cooking with my two sons. He was calm. He knew I was freaking out.
“Bird, what kind of a bird?”
“I don’t know what kind of a bird. One guy said it was a goose. But I think it was a duck. Can we go now please? Hurry up!”
He made no attempts to hurry, smiled and said, “Don’t worry. We’ll take care of it. We’ll just bring it home. If it is dead, we’ll stick it in the oven.” My boys started laughing and patting each other on the back.
“How cruel! This is not funny! I need you and both of you to come with me right now!”
My husband did not know when to be quiet. He said, “Well I have news for you. You know when you go out to restaurants and eat duck or chicken or goose, that is what it is. I bird that has been killed so that human beings can eat it. Just because you buy meat in a Styrofoam package still means the same thing.”
More giggles and laughter. I was furious. My husband is not a vegetarian. Nor are my kids. They are just pragmatic and practical. I prefer to ignore such things. I did not want to deal with it right now.
“I don’t understand you guys! Men are so insensitive. I just killed something. How can you stand around in the kitchen cracking jokes about the poor bird!”
Men baffle me. Living with three of them is just too much at times. This is exactly the reason why women lean on other women and sometimes have a need to escape to exotic places like Paris or London for a week and be alone. To live one week without having to deal with a man.!
Often people suspect that if a woman is going away for a week alone, she must be having a clandestine affair with another man. Nope. Not really. The last thing she wants to do is deal with another man. She wants to go to museums and galleries and spas. No she doesn’t want to hang out at ESPN Zone in Manhattan. Maybe for an hour. But not every day every meal. She wants a man free week. But I digress…
My older son refused to come. “Mom. It will be ok. Dad and my brother will go with you.” My husband was smiling and kidding around until he saw my beautiful, new, shiny, red Volvo.
“Oh *expletive*! What did you do? How big was the bird?” He was staring at my car. The front grill was broken and there was a huge feather sticking out of the grill. And there was a dent on the hood. Now my husband was worried.
“This is not going to be covered on the insurance! This is going to be expensive to fix.”
“I don’t care about that right now. Can we please go?”
His mood was somber as we drove. The fact that he was more concerned about the car and money than the bird and me infuriated me. If only I lived in a man free world.
When we got to the place where the bird ran into my car, he pulled over and they rushed to look at the bird. I got out and sat on the side walk. Someone had brought water for the bird. The bird was starting to move a little.
Thank God the goose was alive!
The next thing I knew, the goose jumped up and hopped over across the road. It went under the black pick up truck. The Texan guy was still there talking to my husband. His slightly pregnant wife was out of the car. They had rolled down the windows and their little boy was watching the commotion. He smiled at me and waved. I looked down.
By now numerous people had gathered. Someone was on the phone calling the non-emergency line. Someone was calling a Vet. Someone brought a stick and started tapping it under the pick up truck. They wanted the goose to get out from under the pick up. Someone showed up with a bed sheet. Someone else with a pet carrier.
The goose hopped out from under the pick up and went into someone’s front yard. They all chased the goose. One with a bed sheet, one with a pet carrier and another with a stick. The stick was a prop for gently guiding the goose into the pet carrier. But my goose was smart. It hopped right behind some bushes.
My husband called out to me. “What are you doing there? Come over here and help us! ” I shook my head and said “No.” “Come help us Mom!” So I had to go help them. My husband had a plan. He asked for a cloth napkin. Something smaller than a bed sheet. A cloth napkin magically appeared. He asked us all to form a circle around the goose and then get closer and closer to the goose. We did what he said and the goose flapped its wings and hobbled behind another bush. The little boy was laughing and clapping in the pick up. I’m sure we all looked crazy. I smiled and waved at him.
My goose was smart and strong. It was going to live.
We circled the other bush and got closer and closer. By now, everyone had something in their hands. We were all trying to get the goose into the pet carrier. With one quick move, my husband grabbed the goose’s head with the napkin. He gently held the goose’s head and pressed its beak so it would not bite. The goose flapped its wings but someone quickly wrapped the sheet around it and subdued it. We all coordinated and gently pushed the goose into the carrier. The bed sheet came out. My husband was the last one to let go of the goose and then quickly someone closed the pet carrier.
Yeah! We all cheered and laughed.
My husband said, “See? It is as simple as that. Once you put the napkin around it, it can’t see. So then you can easily catch it and subdue it.” I smiled and said, “Yes that was easy. Thanks!”
The pick up truck guy was going to take the bird to a bird hospital. We wanted to do it but he insisted. He probably did not trust me. He assured me that he would make sure that the goose was released at the pond near our house. That is probably where its family was. We smiled and thanked him and waved. He put the pet carrier in the back of his pick up truck and drove off.
I never asked him his name. I never knew where he lived. I regret that. I know that barring some extreme coincident, I’ll never know his name. I wish that I could see him someday and thank him. I want to tell his wife that he is a keeper. I want to tell his son that his dad is a kind and a generous man. But I’ll never get a chance. I missed my moment.
I never got my Volvo fixed. And I never will. The dent is still there and the grill is still broken. And it will remain there. As long as we have the car.
I often go to the pond near my house and search for my goose. I see it sometimes with its family. My husband tells me that they all look alike. There are so many. Maybe. Maybe not. Surely I recognize it. I always see it teaching its babies how to swim and how to fly. It is still smart and strong. The goose gives me strength and courage and hope. I‘m so proud of you goose.