Several months ago, my significant other and I were hungry, so we decided to go out for breakfast. Now, we just wanted to get something quick and go back home, and this lead us to Hardees, which isn’t that far away from where we live. Things progressed normally enough. We got there, we ordered, we paid and we left, but as we were driving across the parking lot to get to the street, we noticed that it was inundated with seagulls. They were flying, squawking, haggling over scraps of food and generally being a nuisance. And of course, to get back to the road, we had to drive through a flock of them.
I have been driving for a long time, and from my point of view, I have had plenty of close calls when it comes to running into birds.
This should sound familiar to you. You’re driving along, and there is a bird sitting in the middle of the road. It could be a crow, a buzzard or a sparrow; and the closer you get, driving at 35mph or faster, the more it seems as though it will not move. Then, at the very last possible moment, or at least, so it seems, they take flight and get swiftly out of the way.
Now, from the birds’ point of view, they may have had plenty of time and space to get out of the way, but for us, it feels like… it’s now or never. You may have also had a bird or two swan dive from a perch, past the front of your car seemingly mere inches from impact; making you wonder, “What the hell was that about?” Or some of you may have had an incident like I did, where a furry, little birdy body waited one second too long and bounced off of your headlight, as you traveled down the street.
My point is… birds seem to be daredevils, but they usually get out of the way.
So… My significant other and I are trying to leave Hardees, and we encounter a flock of seagulls blocking the way. I decided to slow down to about 10mph, with full confidence that at the last possible moment they would fly out of the way. How wrong I was. They didn’t move. They continued to closely meander as I approached. Once I was so close that I couldn’t even see them in front of our car, I saw several of them just casually stroll to either side of the front tires; as if they were going in that direction anyway, and that it didn’t matter that this one ton vehicle was about to roll over them.
Immediately, I broke into laughter. I thought it was hilarious. My only response as I slowly traversed through the apathetic flock was, “They don’t give a damn!” And they didn’t. They had no sense of urgency or fear for their lives. They just maintained their pace, and whatever happened, happened.
Now, to some of you, this may sound like an example of seagulls being assholes, but I think it exemplifies a quality that more of us should have. The ability to diligently maintain one’s own course and not get caught in the machine. Everyone has an idea or feeling about what they should be doing with their lives, but they get caught up, side tracked, by those who think they know better. Are you going out partying with people you really don’t know or like, because they’re ‘supposed’ to be cool? Are you choosing a school or major because that is what your parents or family are expecting of you? Are you taking money from lobbyists because every other politician asshole around you is doing the same? Stop. If you follow the premise that people are inherently good, then deep down inside you know what’s right, and therefore, it should be an easy decision.
Don’t succumb to the pressures of your family, peers or society. Just because everyone (seemingly) is doing something doesn’t make it the best thing to do. And I understand that social and familiar pressure is a hard to withstand, but if you do, you will feel better and be better for it.
Now look, I get it. When it comes to the animal kingdom, there are so many other animals that one would rather imitate. The fierce lion. The quick cheetah. Even the agile warthog, that is so ugly it’s cute. The sheer thought that a seagull is nothing but a rat with wings is enough to make one cringe. But when it came down to it, and those seagulls were met with the pressure of a 2000 pound vehicle baring down on them, they didn’t blink.
How many of us Homo Sapiens can say that?