Friday, June 8, 2007

Q. Why did the turkey cross the road?


A. To provoke a blog post.


My brother-in-law was quite amused when he saw wild turkeys roaming residential roads during his past visit to the Boston area. So, when I see them going about their business, I'm often prompted to snap a few turkey pictures to share with him.

The turkey (pictured above) sauntered the streets a block from our school yesterday afternoon.

I parked the car and began to take photos. The turkey was less interesting, however, than the reactions of people to him:

Our school principal biked by on his way to his office, did a double take and swerved. He's from Israel. I guess he wasn't expecting to see a bird as big as his front bicycle wheel. Are there wild turkeys on the streets of Israel?

A kind lady in a minivan full of children saw that I was taking pictures and stopped her car in the middle of the road. She must have been a resident of this street, because she asked if I'd seen the chicks.

Apparently this turkey is "the Dad." There's also a mother with ten turkey chicks living in a nearby backyard. The turkey began to cross the road in front of her, while she chatted with me through our open windows.

A line of cars had formed behind her, and the drivers started honking impatiently. Turning in her seat and stretching half her body out the driver's side window she yelled at them, morphing seamlessly from sweet and informative local resident to the obnoxious assertive Boston driver that lives in us all, bellowing, "Hey, whadaya expect me to do? There's a [expletive deleted] turkey in the [expletive deleted] road here. Have a little [expletive deleted] patience, willya?"

She turned back to me, smiled, and told me I should really try to get a picture of the whole turkey family; how they all walked in a line, like ducks. The drivers of the cars behind her continued blasting their horns. Just as the turkey reached the other side of the road, she waved to me, then gestured [ahem] differently to the cars behind her, and drove off.

A dump truck with four tired-looking workers drove up, as the turkey weaved back across the road. It pulled up very close to the turkey and stopped short in front of it. The turkey stopped walking and turned to face the truck. It looked first with its left eye, then turned to look with its right eye.

Arms waved in frustration from both the driver's side and passenger's side windows. Cussing could be heard, keeping rhythm with the gesticulating arms. The turkey continued to eye the truck and the men in it. The turkey took a step toward the truck.

The truck then inched closer to the turkey (from a stop!) I guess the turkey won the game of "chicken" [sorry, couldn't resist!], because the truck stopped again, shaking from the sudden use of the brakes. The turkey slowly turned its back to the truck, taunting the men. It started walking very slowly away from the truck, but still in the middle of the road, daring the truck to follow. The driver honked the truck horn and yelled at the turkey.

After half a block, the turkey must have become bored with the game, because he changed his angle and moved diagonally to the side of the road.

The men in the truck yelled after the turkey as they passed it.

A lady in running shoes, walking her twins in a jogging stroller eyed me suspiciously as she approached my car. She watched me carefully, following the aim of my camera to the turkey and back to me, multiple times.

I flashed a friendly smile at her, but her brows knit, and she frowned.

Maybe she's a turkey hater. Maybe she thought I was a terrorist, using the turkey as a clandestine cover for unspecified nefarious ends. Maybe she had indigestion. Maybe she thought I was a turkey tourist. Maybe her feet were tired.

I couldn't tell if she was more annoyed with the turkey, or me, or something else altogether.

I hope she found something in the rest of her day to make her happier.


Here are pictures of the turkey. Next time, maybe I'll take pictures of the people, too.

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Anonymous said...

It's the aforementioned brother in law posting to thank you for the turkey update. I have seen a few in my neck of the woods, but in a rural area. You've got turkeys two blocks from the green line. Too cool.

And, to touch on your comment about animals in Israel:

Once, when staying the night in Tel Aviv with the relative of an American friend, we found ourselves looking at the photo album of our hosts most recent trip to America. The first two pages were all pictures of squirrels. Avi, having been raised in desert of the Middle East was so excited to tell us about them: "In america, they have small furry things running all over the ground!"

I doubt they have wild turkeys in Israel.

---matt

Spoofy said...

A great post!! I laughed out loud. Thanks.

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