Friday, September 18, 2009

Foul Weather Fowl

I was carpooling with my daughter, Michelle, Tuesday morning. She was in need of a ride, as I mentioned the other day, because someone decided this past Sunday morning her car would look better elsewhere and stole it from in front of our house. As if her mother and I don't have enough difficulty getting her to come home weekends from Eastern (Connecticut State University).

The car is a 1995 Mitusbishi Mirage, SE, with a 1.6 liter engine and a five-speed transmission. It's light green and has a hundred and eighty thousand miles on it (maybe the guys who make that gum bought the car company and this is part of the new car sales campaign). She used to call it her Peggy Sue or perhaps Post Script, with an "O" in the middle (I believe that was what she meant) but she felt differently Sunday morning.

Each of us took turns standing in the spot where the car had been in front of the house as if we were about to bend the laws of physics and stand where the object that was no longer there had previously been, and were amazed that we couldn't do that. Crime is something we read about in the newspaper or happens to people we know, but not us. Sometimes we forgot that for the people we know, we are the people they know.

We were driving back to Eastern on 87 (I think; I'm not good at math), past the llama farm. There's so many, it could be a factory, now that I think about it. I always expect to see the Andes Mountains. I don't ever smell Llama dung--when you drive past a dairy farm, you can smell cow stuff, right? What's the deal with the Llamas (and maybe a few alpacas, I'm not sure)? Michelle is very knowledgeable about animals but even she can't answer my llama question.

Somehow we got off on a tangent. I blame the car. She was explaining that throughout nature there are compensations in the animal kingdom. While we think of birds as animals who fly, she said, there are penguins and ostriches who can't fly (but are still birds). Instead they have marvelous abilities as swimmers and runners to compensate. Carrying that a bit farther, she mentioned the turkey farm in Lebanon (not this one, this one) with a corn field in the center of the fenced-in area so the birds have someplace to hide at night when they sleep because car headlights disturb them. Like we need Thanksgiving turkeys with sleep apnea.

As we drove along she noted that neither chickens nor turkeys could actually fly and in light of earlier remark about trade-offs, she wondered what compensations came into play for them. Attempting to be helpful, I offered that both tasted delicious. The silence was just becoming uncomfortable when we arrived at her dorm and our time together ended. I was going to offer her a fatherly insight on the kiwi, but then realized she spends so much time in sneakers that shoe polish references are closer to pointless than Dr Kimble ever got to the one-armed man.
-bill kenny

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