Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Importance of Signaling

I wake up in the morning most days with a general sense of curiousity about what sort of adventure I might run into. Typically: none, but that’s the thing about adventure - you can't nail it down to a regular pattern or there wouldn't be much to look forward to, now would there? So you always just have to wonder about it a tiny bit - not enough to be genuinely disappointed when nothing of consequence happens; just enough to keep your wits about you in the event your adventure requires the application of some form of skill. You may or may not possess this skill.

My experience with deeply memorable adventures indicates that, more often than not, this skill deserts you at an inopportune time.*

Most of the time I go to work and sit down, then when I get ready to leave work I stand back up and go home. My window for adventure is roughly 24-43 minutes in length on an average day and encompasses the time I spend walking to and/or from the truck and driving to and/or from work. Quite regularly: there is no adventure. Oftentimes there is an adventure and it kicks in when I stand up from my desk, realize my right leg has betrayed me by going to sleep whilst I labored, and I crash into the stack of papers on my desk; upsetting my coffee cup into my water cup into my telephone while I fall backwards across the arms of my chair - the chair that rolls.

That happens sometimes. But not today.

Today I dressed myself (harder than you might think), and set sail for work. I ate a stick of beef jerky somewhere between Mt. Paran Road and Northside Drive. It was really tasty, but that’s not part of the adventure.

Halfway down Courtland I swung hard into the right lane (without signaling) once I passed the usual intersection construction; and accelerated through the next yellow light. I noticed, idly, that a pidgeon (we'll call him "Thornton") on the sidewalk a half-block ahead was suspiciously eyeballing an approaching pedestrian. I glanced at my rearview and began to swing into the left lane (again, no signal). I looked back up just in time to see Thornton's tailfeathers at roughly eye-level in extreme closeup. He was merging into my lane and shifting gears, but not fast enough I'm afraid. Had he taken Harris or Baker (or even Dobbs if traffic is bad) he would have been fine; but he didn't.

Through the ensuing explosion of feathers, windshield wipers, and general chaos I managed to catch one last glimpse of him in the rearview as he climbed for the sun; five remaining tail feathers fanned briefly in that ubiquitous hand signal we commuters know so well.

Today Thornton the pidgeon made his last illegal turn and I can't help but think: if he had only signaled, he might have made it.

*If the "The Goonies" really happened (a possibility I occasionally mull over) and Mozart and I were in that cave with Mouth, Mikey, and Data trying to bang out a tune on the skull piano - I'd look at Mozart expectantly and he'd be like "what? me?" and he'd have probably hit a high note and killed us all. Thats what can happen when your skill deserts you. Don't let it be you.

1 comment:

Tani said...

I find it odd, yet mildly entertaining, that the first piece I read of yours since a recap of a trip we once took amongst friends
55 years ago, is spot on with a recent 'mishap' that occurred during my latest travels through the Czech Republic.

About two weeks ago, my accomplice and I were in Prague and Ostrava for the weekend.

First things first, yes we ditched his promoters and opted for a walk about town (*over 10 miles in less than 4 hours).
In our defense, our mind's eye was focused on actually making a pleasant trip out of the seemingly endless, not to mention, nonsensical 'itineraries'
we are served once landing in these amazing cities for what can only be described as an ephemeral moment of bliss unless action is taken into our own hands...or feet.

That being said, once we were 'discovered,' Jon received a poke to his left eye, a giant named Olav squished my middle finger (right hand) and we were tossed
into what could, hypothetically, be called a car but for the sake of, let's just go with, 'truth' we entered a 21st century pigeon killing machine.

In short, we hit a pigeon traveling at about 95 miles an hour. Not only did I live in fear for the 3 remaining hours in our drive to the tour's second leg...
but, what's more was the realization that I could no longer feel proper in my daily utilization of the phrase 'spontaneously combust.'