Two Birds, a Car and a Hippie

It might sound like that start of a really bad joke, and in some respects, what I'm about to tell you has its hilarious moments, but there are also moments when I question the sanity of some people—including my own sanity.

The past week has been filled with NaNoWriMo writing, complicated with near misses with not one, but two birds, and an interesting tirade from someone who clearly doesn't understand my sarcasm.

Where does one even begin?

Well, I guess it all started last week on Monday morning.

I dragged myself out of bed at 4:30am, as I have been doing for the last few weeks. It's a virtual write-in, trying to pump out words before the rest of the family gets up and start demanding my attention, and NOT get distracted by the sunrise.

No spoilers here—I fail—every morning.

Sunrise as seen over my back fence. (May 2, 2019)

Breakfast time, and my husband pulled out what was left of the milk. Blue top. Icky 2% for those of you in the US. I don't like Blue top. I've been drinking the non-fat Green top since I was twelve years old. That many years of drinking the trim version of milk will alter the taste of the foul Blue top.

So, I got into my SUV to get some more milk from the petrol station at the end of the road.

Perhaps that was mistake number one.

The First Bird

Why did the Pukeko cross the road? Because he saw me with a camera? (2019)

Before I go on much further, I better point out that I live in an area that has been surrounded by construction for years. When my husband and I bought the house (some 14 years ago), it was surrounded by wetlands. Many of the native birds in New Zealand make their homes in the wetlands, and with the wetlands disappearing, it wasn't long before the native birds were displaced from their nesting grounds.

Construction took over and the pukekos moved in across the road. And I'm not talking about a small handful of the native blue birds. I'm talking hundreds of them—everywhere!

There isn't a day that goes by when I don't see a pukeko taking in a leisurely stroll down the street. Many of them bathe in the puddles left on the side of the road after the rains. And at all hours of the day, there is fighting and squabbling. I mean, the domestic violence across the street has taken things to an insane level. Granted it's still birds, but those things are vicious!

And the day that the geese decided to move in too… OMG, the partying just wouldn't stop! They just kept on honking at all hours of the… morning.

There is a reason why I post so many photos of pukekos on my feeds, and trust me it has nothing to do with how pretty I think the birds are. They are beautiful, of that you'll get no argument out of me, but when I can sit at my computer and have one land on my fence, or walk out the driveway and practically trip over one… Let's just say that pukekos are nowhere near as rare as people thought they were.

To quote my daughter: "You've never seen one? Well, just take a walk down our street. You'll see hundreds."

Well, the morning when I went out to get milk, because of how common the pukekos are on my street, it was no surprise to me to see one of these blue beauties on the side of the road, pecking at the grass verge. What was a surprise was to have this guy take flight, heading out over the street—just as my SUV was about to pass him.

I freaked. OMG, this beautiful bird—and IT HIT MY CAR!

I wasn't freaked out about the car. Hell, no. I was freaking out about the bird. You have no idea how guilty I felt. I looked out my rear-view window, only to see this mass of feathers on the road with a wing stretched out to the sky.

The whole way down the road: "Oh no! I killed a pukeko!"

I got my milk and headed home, guilty as hell seeing that black feathery mass with the wing sticking up in the distance, but then a miracle…

The pukeko—which I honestly thought I had accidentally killed—got up and staggered across the road.

"IT LIVES!" I had even temporarily let go of my steering wheel to put my hands up in the air as I cheered.

My guilt was alleviated, but this dazed bird decided to cause havoc with a pour cyclist who was riding by after me. The pukeko took flight again and hit the cyclist.

Seriously, bird, what were you thinking?

So, that was the first bird of this tale, a narrow escape of death for the little blue guy, and my daughter has been teasing me about it ever since. (She seriously has no mercy!)

A Bird of a Different Feather

Bird number two was a duck, and my narrow miss with the bird was only the day after the pukeko-walking-dead incident.

Again, the wild birds in the local area have been totally displaced. Some are hunted by the hunters who have built a hunting hideout on the other side of the main highway. Trust me, gunfire from riffles at 6 am is not my idea of fun. Granted, you could set your clock by them, but the first time scared me half to death. Thankfully, hunting season is over—I think—I haven't heard them in a while.

However, instead of moving in across the road—the pukekos weren't very nice to the ones who did try to move in—some of the ducks have moved into creeks and rivers located around the city.

Last year, a group of ducks moved into my daughter's high school campus, where one little horny beast decided to sexually assault her. (Trust me, when she regaled the hilarious story by simply stating that a duck sexually assaulted her, I had to blink multiple times and demanded a much longer explanation.)

And there's the little critters who have chosen to make the little creek that runs behind the local mall as their home. My son has had a few narrow misses with that duck family while riding his bike to and from high school.

But my narrow miss…

I had dropped my daughter off at ballet and was heading to a write-in for NaNoWriMo… Some ducken bird chose that very moment to waddle across the busy road. I slowed up as much as I could without being rear-ended by the car behind me, but man, could this duck move any slower? Hell, why was he crossing the road anyway? His little creek was on the other side!

(No, that was not a bad joke. Seriously, the duck was come FROM the side of the road the creek was on and moved into… well… residential housing?)

The poor driver behind me had to come to a complete stop as the duck chose to just stand there in the middle of the road—not moving.

I don't know what goes through the brains of ducks, but duck vs moving car and the results are never going to be pretty.

Enter the Hippie

I got to my write-in and had posted a sarcastic comment on my Facebook about suicidal birds.

What is it about these suicidal birds?! Yesterday, I almost killed a pukeko as it flew in front of my car, and this evening, I almost turned a duck into roadkill as it decided to waddle across the road as I was passing by—at speed! When will these birds learn that wild birds and busy roads filled with cars is not a good combination?

Okay, it might have been a little insensitive, but ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the inappropriate sarcasm of Judy L Mohr. I know how to apply a filter to my mouth when I have to, but the point is I don't want to. It's liberating to occasionally say exactly what is on your mind.

And fans of Gilmore Girls will know exactly the type of sarcasm I excel at, except mine tends to be a little darker than the sarcasm that was laced through that show.

But did some hippie really need to hop onto my feed and insist that I "slow down" and "be aware"? Seriously?

I did try to politely defend myself, it was my page after all, but the accusations got worse, and I had to delete the comments. Clearly, we will disagree for all time about things.

So, I'm living on a street covered with little blue birds. There is zero chance of avoiding them completely. Every couple of days, at least one more pukeko's body has been added to the roadkill tally. That's what happens when they move into a residential area located right next to construction.

And the duck at the mall… It's a flipping shopping mall with lots and lots of cars, right next to one of the busiest roads in the city. What are we suppose to do? Put in a set of duck crossing lights?

My two experiences from the last week are not the first time when I've had near misses with birds as they decided to venture across the road and into traffic. What am I supposed to do? Swerve into on-coming traffic to save the bird's life, only to cause a major car accident threatening my own? Or perhaps I'm supposed to slam on the brakes, only to run the risk of the poor schlep right behind me rear-ending me. Sure, the bird might be okay, but if any human is injured in those accidents, I'm the one who is at fault. You can try, but you can't exactly take a bird to court.

I hate to say it, but as beautiful as those birds are, if it ever came down to a decision between the bird's life and me causing an accident…

Bye, bye, birdie!

Sure, I'll feel horrible about it. It's an innocent bird who had tried to find a new home after his home had been taken away by us greedy humans, but IT'S A BIRD!

Before anyone starts attacking me, I get it. I totally get it. All the construction over the years has disrupted the homes of these birds, but not completely!

Those who live in Christchurch, New Zealand will be familiar with Travis Wetlands. It's a wildlife reserve that has been restored back to native swamp. It's loaded with ducks, pukekos, swans and geese. There are several other kinds of native swamp birds living there too. (And no, swans and geese are not native birds. They just moved in.)

But even with this untouched sanctuary, the population of birds in the area has swollen to the point where the pukekos seem to prefer living right in the middle of Travis Road—one of the busiest roads that circles around the northern edges of the city—part of State Highway 74.

Roadkill is a sad, but common occurrence on that road.

I can hear the hippie now: How can I rank the value of my life higher than that of a pukekos? Easy. Because it's my life!

I like nature, but I'm a city girl through and through.

Just because I post a lot of photos of sunrises or my feathery neighbors doesn't mean that I'm a nature guru. I'm not in rush to throw away every bit of technology that I have. I might be an ex-scout leader (6 years with St Matthews LLO), but I'm also a scientist who likes having the internet. I miss going out on overnight hikes—my knees just won't let me do it anymore—but if given the choice, I like having my own bed. I occasionally like going to Bottle Lake Forest, and I'm always in awe when I head up to the mountains, but how do I get there? It's called a car.

There is only one part of nature that I don't like: the beach. I live less than 15-minutes drive away from the beach and I do my best to avoid the place. It has sand—and sand has a bad habit of getting into places where sand doesn't belong (like your bum crack). Sure, I've taken some of my best sunrise photos at the beach, but I was nicely rugged up in my jacket and closed-toe shoes when I took those photos—and I stuck to the wet sand where I wouldn't sink into the dry stuff, getting sand in my socks.

Sunrise at the New Brighton Pier (April 27,2019)

Sunrise at the New Brighton Pier. And yes, it was COLD! (Taken April 27, 2019)

I am environmentally conscious, well aware of the effect that our modern society has on climate change. I go out of my way to explain the truths about the science associated with mankind's impact, trying to remove the political discussions from the conversation so others can understand that it isn't fake science made up by Al Gore and his cronies. The science is real. But I also refuse to go back to the Dark Ages where all knowledge of medicine and engineering was lost.

The Romans and Greeks knew how to build these amazing structures. The Egyptians have their pyramids that scientists today have no clue how were built. The nursemaids and midwives of the past had great knowledge about medicines and herbs, knowledge that we're only just now rediscovering.

They don't call them the Dark Ages because there wasn't any light. They call them the Dark Ages because society as a whole refused to see the truth right in front of them. Anything that couldn't be explained by their unforgiving beliefs in an external deity was the devil's work and needed to be cast out or destroyed. Anyone who didn't think like they did was killed for being a witch. And if you just happened to be an educated person... Well, join the witches at the stake.

Knowledge was lost!

I can rant until I'm blue in the face, but the reality is there are some people out there who will remain close-minded and stuck in their hippie ways.

There's one thing in all this that I really don't understand: If the hippie is struggling to grasp my sarcasm and doesn't approve of my comments about science and the like, then why are they following me? Why interact? I clearly don't agree with the hippie, so why bother? I seriously doubt they're ever going to want to read anything that I write, so, what is it that they really hope to achieve?

To irritate me and peeve me off? Yep, they have succeeded in doing that.

To be turned into a dead body in one of my manuscripts? It hasn't happened yet, but it's coming.

To see me go ballistic in public? Well, this blog post is about as ballistic as I'm going to get.

To become blocked from my social media feeds? Well, if they keep it up, yep, that too will be just around the corner.

I did deliberate for some time about NOT posting this, but decided that I would anyway. What's the worst that could happen? I lose a follower?

With all the hippie efforts put aside, I have just one request:

If you can't take the sarcasm, get off my feeds.

Copyright © 2019 Judy L Mohr. All rights reserved.

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