It was the perfect Monday morning. Monday is college t-shirt day at my school, meaning I didn’t even have to play Closet Showdown with all my clothes that I currently don’t fit into. I grabbed my jeans and tugged my red alma mater t-shirt over my head. I didn’t even care about my hair because it was going under my bike helmet anyway.
It was such the perfect morning that just as Magnolia True and I were about to turn onto the street my school is on, I Believe in a Thing Called Love by The Darkness came up on my playlist. If there’s a better song to ride to in the morning, I haven’t found it. I push the pedals a little harder and may or may not play air guitar on my handlebars during the guitar solo. I’m less embarrassed about that than I should be, especially since my school is in a suburban neighborhood and I pass scads of parents and students in their cars every morning.
The street my school is on is all downhill on my commute to work. I love this because it means I arrive to work mostly unsweaty and on my way home I stomp the pedals all the way up the hill.
So there I was cruising downhill to school singing along.
“I believe in a thing called love. Just listen to the rhythm of my heart. I believe we can make it, love. We’ll be rockin’ ’til the sun goes do-“
That’s when I saw it.
A giant, wild turkey strutting in a driveway to my right. He was at least as tall as my bike wheels and he was all alone, which as you may have guessed isn’t a sign of a well-balanced turkey.
I believe I’ve mentioned my fear of birds before. So upon seeing this terrifying bird, I let a string of profanity fly. I’ll let you Mad Lib this one and insert your own avalanche of profanity on my behalf here:
After I said a few choice words, I prayed the turkey wouldn’t see me because a 6 foot tall woman in a bright red shirt blasting The Darkness on a bicycle can be stealthy, right?
As I passed by the turkey, he looked right at me, a sinister look from the depths of Hades.
“I don’t want any trouble,” I told him as came to be even with driveway that was apparently HIS TERRITORY.
I was riding as far away from the driveway as I could without veering into oncoming traffic, which, in hindsight, may have been preferable to what was about to happen.
The turkey made a beeline for me.
I uttered some more choice words and kicked my pedaling into high gear.
I could hear the turkeys devil claws scrabbling on the asphalt behind me.
I looked back only once.
The bird was gaining on me.
I pedaled harder, sweat dripping down my face, and went into a tuck-which looks absolutely ridiculous on a cruiser bike.
I prayed that the turkey wouldn’t take flight because my bike helmet might stand up to those horrid talons, but surely my red t-shirt wouldn’t.
Did you know that red is known to incite fury in birds? I didn’t find out that useful nugget of information until much later that day.
I ripped down the hill and careened into my school parking lot where I didn’t stop pedaling, not even across the playground, until I reached the safety of my classroom door. My heart was playing a crazy game of Frogger in my chest and my hair, which wasn’t great to begin with, was now a sweaty, sopping mess.
To my great relief, I’d lost the turkey somewhere on the hill. Of equal relief was that I had not peed my pants while he was in pursuit. Small victories.
I haven’t seen the turkey since that day, but I did receive this card a few weeks later from one of my little ones.
The feathers are from a turkey she hunted with her dad. Coincidence? I think not.
Take that, turkey. You’d better think twice before you mess with me. I may be terrified of you, but I know a six-year-old little girl who isn’t. Consider yourself warned.