Ah, another Monday, another few hours of solitude. I love Mark, but I also love these few hours each week where I can be alone and pick my nose. Okay…so I don’t pick my nose, much, but I can sit here and read, watch a movie, take a run, a walk, water the garden or just pick my nose. It’s a welcome break and nice to spend a bit of time alone.
Tonight’s drink; a nice Italian red, Barbera d’Alba, 2004 La Loggia, a gift from Elena and Emilio who recently arrived here from Torino. Emilio grew up in Alba and has shared a number of their wines with me over that past few months. Thanks Emilio, cheers!
I’ve paired tonight’s wine with an ancient recording by a distant family member: Pat Metheny. Having Southern roots, virtually everyone is considered a distant cousin but this one is well documented and I don’t mind being his distant publicist. If you don’t know his music, I highly recommend this album. If you like your jazz a bit less tame, I recommend “Off Ramp”. Oh…and while I’m promotin’…I suggest you take a listen to Lyle Mays, Pat’s on again, off again, keyboard player. Neither would have become who they are without the other…IMHO.
Now, I want to tell you of my unusual trip home from work.
The road I drive is a winding rural drive along the ridge of the West Hills of Portland. The area is not heavily populated but there are many hidden houses and virtually invisible driveways. Although I drive this road twice a day, five or more times a week, I still drive cautiously. Aside from the bicyclists, runners and domestic animals: deer, raccoons, skunks, opossums and elk are not uncommon along the road. Bear sightings are not unusual here but it’s the occasional report of kangaroos that fall more in line with what I experienced tonight.
Driving home from work I rounded a nearly blind curve and saw a huge bird jump into the road from a row of sempervirens. Not fly…jump! I hit the brakes and came to a stop within a foot of a peacock. Yep…that’s right…a big, green, three foot tall peafowl!
I’m familiar with peacocks, having family who use them as “watchdogs” on their farms in California. Peacocks are not the friendliest of birds and this pecker immediately began attacking my truck, and not in a good way. This peafowl was literally jumping into the air and dropping his heavy beak onto my hood and grill. I was furious and deservedly so considering I’d just had my hood replaced a month ago! I wanted to get out and wring the fucker’s neck but I knew better, I wasn’t going anywhere near that bastard’s beak. I’ve been pecked by a peacock before and it’s far worse than getting gang-pecked by a flock of geese on a golf course, but that’s another story.
My response was to hit my horn hoping to chase the bird away but he wasn’t budging, he was on a mission. In fact, the horn seemed to excite his rage. I started to back up but another car quickly rounded the curve behind me and stopped just short of my rear bumper putting an end to my escape route. I was trapped. The driver behind me couldn’t see the bird working over the front of my truck like a prizefighter with his opponent against the ropes and began honking his horn. This only excited the bird’s frenzy. A few seconds later a car approached from the opposite direction and saw the peacock pounding my grill. The car slowed to pass carefully and the peacock turned on his car.
Now, with the bird distracted I tried to open my door thinking I could run and alert the owner but the damn bird saw the door open and turned back to attack my car. I retreated and decided to wait it out when a woman suddenly appeared from the driveway adjacent to my passenger door. Her appearance pulled the driver behind me off his horn and I could here her sweet, lilting voice calling ”Petey…oh Petey…come on in now!” With that, the peacock stopped his attack, raised his head and peered over the hood of my truck then pranced regally past the passenger door, toward the woman, and down the driveway. Once he was out of site, the woman caught my eye through the side window and said, “I’m so sorry, Petey was startled by the lawnmower, I hope he wasn’t too much of a problem.” Then she disappeared down the driveway behind the bird.
I drove home not thinking about the potential damage to my truck but that the people I live among are beautifully eccentric and how even the kangaroo story doesn’t seem so unusual now. I still have a smile on my face and only wish every day could be as oddly entertaining.