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June 18, 2004: S is for Standoff

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Since we live on the very edge of a town that is surrounded on all sides by large amounts of rural farm area, it is not uncommon to be driving along the back roads to work and be suddenly confronted with some manner of livestock. Usually it is chickens, which, while they may not be the brightest birds there are, have enough sense to skedaddle out of the road the instant they sense a car is coming. Every once in a very long time it is sheep, when one of them figures out that there is a hole in a fence and maybe things might be a bit more exciting if they wandered out to check out all those strange objects that whiz by at such high speeds. And lately, at least in this town, the livestock in question is a peacock. An either very stupid or incredibly brave (or perhaps both) peacock who has not yet figured out that standing in the middle of the road facing down oncoming traffic is not the smartest place in the world for a bird to be. Best of all, this particular peacock is convinced that he is incapable of being harmed, and is, in fact, far mightier than those oncoming cars, because lately he has taken to standing in the middle of the road in full defiant stance tail feathers splayed out, neck extended, no doubt hissing for all he's worth.

I am continually amazed, each time I am confronted with this stupid peacock and am forced to inch my way slowly around him because he refuses to get out of the way, that he has not yet been splattered all over the road by some oncoming car whose driver was not paying attention and couldn't stop in time when suddenly faced with a full grown peacock in all his feathery glory. I am certainly not stupid enough to get out of the car and go chase the damn bird off the road because I have tangled with a peacock before and thus have been shown in no uncertain terms why there is a reason that people used to keep birds like peacocks and geese as guard animals. I would like to point out, for those of you who are now wondering just why I thought it a good idea to tangle with a peacock in the first place, that it wasn't exactly my idea, and that my 'crime' in that previous encounter had been nothing more than walking down a path minding my own business when the peacock stormed out of the bushes and promptly pecked me for all it was worth in the leg. I would also like to point out that a pissed off peacock has a very strong and painful beak, especially when applied to the calf of a young elementary school child who was stupid enough to be wearing shorts at the time.

But I digress. We are discussing the current peacock encounter, and so far, no beaks have met skin - at least skin that I might happen to be wearing at the time. And in the meantime I continue to ease my car around the bird and watch other drivers do the same while cursing at the bird from the safety of their cars and vans and farm vehicles, and once even a large tractor trailer, and think that perhaps I am not the only one who knows the wisdom of staying far away from an aggressive fowl. And I wait, like everyone else, for the day when it either gives up on this little game, or else it ends up, one morning on a day when someone didn't have their morning coffee and is maybe running a little late to work, a bit flatter than it was meant to be.

This has been an entry for Alphabytes.

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