Saturday, November 29, 2008


Killing Birds Without Stones

So I was driving down 395 yesterday, happily singing Christmas music along with the radio, when I saw a bird nearing the right side of my car. Birds fly by all the time, but in a split second I saw that this bird was too close. There was little I could do, driving on the highway, over a bridge in the right hand lane.

And SPLAT, it made contact. And for another fraction of a second I thought it would just fall off of the car, making for an unpleasant, but brief encounter. As is often the case, I was wrong.

I realized that this bird had not just hit my windshield; it had become impaled on the antenna.

And I watched it die.

By now, I had left the bridge. I was in a middle lane with cars on either side. And I cannot really begin to describe just how awful it was. I had to keep driving as the impaled bird tried to free itself. It's head jutted against the windshield and I had to do all I could to hold myself together.

When I did leave the highway, I called the friend I was coming into town to meet and asked if he'd help me remove the bird. By now, it had given up.

I was near the National Mall and parking was hard to find. I saw a woman getting ready to leave a space and I hovered near. She kept pointing and gesturing. I, in turn, gestured to indicate that I was aware of the dying/dead bird impaled on my car. I still needed a parking space, however. Then I feared that some animal rights fanatic would vandalize my car before I was able to get my friend to help me remove the bird.

"I really just should have taken metro," I said at one point.

Later, my sometimes-atheist, sometimes-Buddhist friend said this was God's way of telling me that I should have taken metro.

And suddenly, I was irritated. "How do you know what God is saying?" I asked. "You don't even believe in God."

But later, as he removed the bird, he remarked on the odds that a bird would impale itself on an antenna in that fashion. Being a mathematician, he noted that the bird had to have been flying at just the right angle, etc., etc. "That's very rare."

And for me that was it: I was traumatized by the entire incident, but perhaps the point of it all was that the rare and impossible does happen.

Earlier, I had been talking about a rather upsetting situation that seems to have no solution. But, hey, if a bird can impale itself on my car antenna, who is to say what else can happen? Of course, I am hoping for more pleasant rarities and not traumatic ones.

Still, I am very sorry that the poor bird had to suffer like that. My friend, however, was fascinated by this gruesome death.

"Don't you care about the sanctity of life?" I asked.

He mulled it over and said yeah, he cared, but that it was still cool to see a bird impaled on a car antenna.

And yes, I took a picture of it because if I get nothing else out of all the random things that happen, I get a story.

4 comments:

Mirna said...

Okay, J., that was beyond horrible. I would've been screaming my head off. Good to know you remained calm throughout the whole thing and didn't crash into someone. If nothing else, you learned that you can handle the unexpected with aplomb.

D. Bradley said...

It was a frightening experience and I am glad you kept your composure. I agree with you relative to your friend saying this was God's way to encourage you to use the "Metro". If he does not believe in God , how can he know God's will. I am thanking God you arrived safely at your destination in spite of the bird dying on your antenna. This could have been a traumatic and distracting experience driving on the 395. I thank God you are safe.

Love- Dad

Sharon said...

That - was a big bird! ugh!

spleeness said...

omg. I am horrified that this happened to you. I don't know what to say that hasn't already been said but wow, I am amazed.

My mom and stepdad were once driving in the car on a spring day, windows open, when my stepdad asked her "hon, why did you just hit me?" (not something she does.) And she looked over at him and said "what are you talking about?" and then noticed a little blood on the side of his head. Turns out a bird sailed into the window, smacked him and ended up in the backseat dead.

I don't know what deity was trying to express what with that, but sometimes the rare and unusual just happens!