getting side-eye from a turkey
The dog needed food and the dog will let you know when the dog needs food so I went to go get the dog food. But first I dropped my wife off at the hospital. She’s a nurse. It’s the 6am routine. I roll out of bed, put on yesterdays clothes, slip on some shoes, drive her, kiss her, tell her I love her, she does the same, and then away she goes to be the manifestation of love to random strangers.
Why are nurses not celebrated more?
But this morning the dog was out of food. And when an australian shepherd is out of food, the world might as well be falling piece by piece into hellfire. Oliver, the aussie, has a way about him that some would call stubbornness, I would call conceded asshole-ness, that anticipates and expects the world to fit his needs. So, amidst barking and whining, it was clear that prior to my arrival back to the apartment for basic necessities for the day like coffee and a shower and actually waking up, I’d be stopping by the grocery store to get the king of the apartment his food.
I took the same way I would to get back home, but took a left instead of right, and head up the hill. One track mind, and face forward, the grocery store is closer than it’s been all morning with every rotation of the tires.
And then, all of a sudden, amidst the steps of a, b, c, d and so on that have made up the morning, a break in the systematic. An explosion of disruption in the begrudged commonality. A peeling away from the encased reality of the checklist.
A turkey on the side of the road.
A big one too. Not just your casual run of the mill south hill of Spokane turkey. But a mammoth mama. She’s on the side of the road in one of the rainwater drains.
And she’s giving me the dirtiest side eye you’ve ever seen.
The side eye of a high school friend’s mom peering from the window as she sees you pull out a joint from your backpack at a weekend bonfire with buds. The side eye of a wife waiting to see if you’ll replace the toilet paper roll upon exiting the bathroom.
This was turkey side eye at its finest. And it was directed at me. And its reasoning was bent over next to the mama turkey in the form of baby turkey munching on grass and foliage, completely oblivious to the speeding man who was flying by. And a man who was, up until that moment, also completely unaware of this turkey’s tiny little life because all his awareness could focus on was dog food for the asshole likely still barking back home.
Eye’s locked with side-eyed mama turkey for two split seconds was more than enough. I slowed down. Legally paced my way to the grocery store. And sat in my car for a few extra minutes pondering what I had just seen. Decaffeinated thoughts hopped around too and fro trying to make some poetic sense or meaning to the fact that I had just been side eyed by a turkey mother. That side eye was the weird and cooky conduit needed for love. Her love led to protecting her baby which led to side eyeing me. My rush led to my speeding which led to my shame of being side eyed by a turkey. What is this world that a turkey wakes up in the morning and a Mike wakes up in the morning only to have their eyes lock?
Love seems to be intersecting at all points. And it took a turkey giving me the side eye for me to slow down and recognize it.