I came across a dead bird on the side of the road and I thought, hey! There you are, there’s my guy! It was just what I needed.
My first instinct was that I should make a little video for the Internet where I’d show the bird how to fly again by picking it up and throwing it. Something dumb like that. Or maybe I would have taken a very arty picture, which I guess in this story is playing the role of the more intelligent option.
But there was an older woman walking toward me. Toward us. I decided I should let her pass before I either photographed or chucked a dead bird. It’s important to note that I was living in that neighborhood and I had a reputation to maintain.
As she approached though, she stopped. Just stood there. I figure she noticed the bird herself, as there was really no other reason a person would want to linger just there. It was weird but, then again, I was doing it too.
This began a long and delightfully awkward contest to determine who would give up first and allow the other to enjoy the dead bird in privacy. In total silence we waited. Each of us pretending to be checking something important on our phones, keeping an eye on the bird in our peripheral vision. Each of us having some plan for it, unknown to the other. Each of us simultaneously curious what the other had planned.
In the end I wound up letting her have it.
It hasn’t been long but I feel like this is already one of my greatest regrets in life. Not because I really wish I got the chance to take a picture of a dead bird—I’m sure that opportunity will come again—but I feel really bad for leaving the little guy there with that monster.
And this is the best evidence I have that I’m an okay person.