It’s a bird, it’s a …

I wonder what the age group is that have never heard the preceding phrase? I would guess those born after the year 2000 have no idea.

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My dear wife doesn’t notice most things in life. Until it comes to my failings. But enough about me.

This post concerns my wife’s amazingly slow reaction times.

Oftentimes when Michele and I are traveling, I’m pretty good at noticing things a little out of the ordinary. You know, stuff like a dead body in the passing lane or an F-16 in a dogfight with the Red Baron in the sky straight ahead or Elvis hitchhiking to Nashville on the side of the road.

I quickly exclaim “Look, honey! To your right at your one o’clock position, it’s Elvis and his guitar with his thumb out!”

We’ll be going 60 or 70 miles an hour but my first alert was broadcast to Michele when Elvis was still a quarter of a mile ahead. Usually she is reading and doesn’t look up until long after Elvis has been passed and is eclipsed in our dust.

A substantial amount of time always elapses after I tell her to look. She begins, oh so casually and slowly, to visually skimming through the car windshield for Elvis. But it’s way too late. “Where is he? I don’t see anything.”

I probably should have stopped and picked him up but I wasn’t heading for Nashville. I am usually too busy being frustrated by Michele’s inability to snap out of her trance and visually locate the object of my referral. For the first 35 years of our marriage, this molasses-slow reaction time was the norm.

For her, the exclamation “Look!” meant she should keep doing her focused thing for 45 seconds and then slowly raise her head to see what I wanted her to see. It drove me nuts.

But the last 3 or 4 years have finally brought a change to this exasperating situation. I’ve learned to not take it personally when she doesn’t respond immediately. There’s nothing that is going to change.

Along the same lines, I’ve asked Michele to back the van in the driveway when she comes home from shopping so I don’t have to walk so far. It just makes it much easier for this getting-along-in-years grandpa to lug the bags in.

Up to a few days ago, she refused because she said she couldn’t back up without hitting something.

Last week when she pulled up from shopping, she went past the driveway and then started backing up. I was immediately proud of my bride. The pride deal lasted for three or four seconds and then my warning alarms kicked in and started buzzing.

I could see she was struggling. The back of the van was cocked at a 45-degree angle to the driveway and the black Corvette in the other lane. The black Corvette looked to be in mortal danger. My first thought was “Oh no! My blog contest will have no attraction. Now no body will want to drive it.”

I was incredulous. To get the Honda in that messed-up-of-a-position that quickly would require Helen Keller behind the wheel. Blindfolded. With her service dog pinned under the rear tires.

I watched her (Michele, not Helen) stop in the nick of time, pull up and try it again. And again. And again. I went from being sick about the approaching Tee-bone to becoming entertained by her very interesting and unorthodox back and forth docking attempts.

You see, I was raised driving rigs. I can drive backwards watching a rear-view mirror with my arm out the window at 40 or 50 mph far easier than Mitch can drive forward doing 20 mph with a driver’s ed instructor sitting beside her with his hand on the wheel.

For some sadistic reason, it cracks me up that she has this type of struggle. When she came in the house after finally getting the van planted, she made some kind of excuse that her spacial orientation perception was not as advanced as mine.

So these observation are made for a special reason. Normally Michele notices very little. But last night that all changed. As we walked through the living room, Michele stopped and pointed out an anomaly in the window. “Did a bird do that?” she asked.

At first I couldn’t see anything but then quickly focused in on her observation. It took me far less time than it does her to zero in.

There was an image of a bird stamped in the glass. You see, we often have birds smack into the windows of our home. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they have a crash landing, recuperate and fly away in a dazed stupor in search of another window or a beak repair kit.

The picture above shows the window Michele pointed out. My guess is that the bird had on a heavy dose of suntan oil because he (or she, I can’t tell from the impression on the window) left a visible imprint on the glass.

Birds must, at least this one, fly forward with approximately the same skill level as Michele driving backward.

 

This Saturday (if you’ve followed my instructions listed in the blog menu) you could win $500 and/or a week with my Corvette in your driveway and the keys in your pocket! Good luck!!!

 

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