Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Starting and Stopping

I am a wuss. Example: I claim that I like to have my errand-running all planned and efficient, but this somehow leads to a billion different reasons to delay the running of the errands:
Am I sure this is all the dry cleaning?
Surely there is a coupon somewhere for that.
It would be better if I waited until I was going out anyway, that way, I will waste less gas. Besides, it’s awfully unpleasant out there.
With these and other thoughts like them, I stay home for days. Stuff piles up at the door. The pantry contains only dried kidney beans I once used for pie weights and Jell-o.
That was 2011. This is 2012.
January 3rd, 2012, I am conquering you, I thought. I will go to the dry cleaners with the two items I want cleaned. I will fill up my tank with gas. I will relish the cold. I will pick up groceries at the most consistently inexpensive store and not worry about the coupons.
All this before 10 a.m.? Victory! I turned west toward home, the day’s battle against lethargy won. But a new war awaited.
A creature appeared in the distance, walking in the eastbound lane. A single car sat near it, then sped  from shoulder to shoulder, swerving around the animal.
I was a little miffed. Surely the dude (I assumed it was a dude) could have stopped to let the poor thing by.
As I drove closer, I realized the poor thing was a wild turkey. Unlike the dude, I, the conqueror of the errands, could offer a little benevolence. The turkey ran toward the ditch, so I stopped and gave him (I assumed it was a him) some room to be sensible.
The turkey froze. He turned and looked around. He looked at me. And then, he ran … directly at the grill of my car.
Now I looked around. I wasn't sure what to do, so I treated him like a distracted driver and honked my horn. The turkey turned out to have a case of road rage. He stopped momentarily, then charged my car and disappeared.
I honked again. A greyish-white head popped over the hood of my car, gave me the eye, and then vanished.
I imagined him pecking at my bumper with demented fervor, or reenacting that scene from Cape Fear. I checked the rearview mirror. The nearest vehicle was far enough away: I put my car in reverse and eased back a few yards. Retreat only angered him more. He charged me again. People were now coming eastbound, so I put the car in drive and tried to sneak by on the shoulder. He headed me off like a sheepdog.
I slowly returned to my lane and hit the brakes as the jake once again disappeared. Eastbound traffic paused. The turkey head shot up again. The driver opposite went wide-eyed. I was playing chicken with a turkey.
Now a line of cars formed behind me. I realized that from their point of view, I was merely a crazy woman impeding their progress for no obvious reason. So I honked again. The eastbound driver moved, and the westbound drivers took their turns staring at me, first in disgust, then with disbelieve.
Finally, all traffic cleared. I threw the car into reverse and aimed for the shoulder. As the turkey came my way, I threw the car back into drive and — like the dude five minutes before me — gunned it. I swerved and flew back into my own lane, leaving, I’m sure, a distant motorist with the same temptation as me.
To her (I assume it’s a her) I say, it’s easy to rush to judgment, but for 2012, I’m quitting that. Cold turkey.

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