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Saturday, April 11, 2009


Tooting your own horn again to save animal lives



Thursday night, my friend Kim drove with me, over to Boise to see Jane Goodall speak. On the way over, we saw a police officer ticketing someone who had passed us earlier. I asked Kim to guess when the last time I received a traffic ticket was. Kim guessed Bellevue (a town notorious for speed traps) but I said no it was before that, all the way back in Virginia. After I finished a five-minute tale of Virginia traffic tickets, Kim asked me to guess when her last traffic ticket was. I didn’t have a good guess, so she started to say, “My last traffic ticket was…” and then right then a pheasant walking on the highway ahead, slowly started to cantor into our lane. We were going 65-70 and Kim immediately applied the brakes in a professional manner (as the man who was ticketed earlier was right behind us again at this point.) The pheasant couldn’t see us from his vantage point, nor could it hear the approach of Kim’s aerodynamic Jetta. I quickly told Kim to toot her horn. Kim did not honk the horn as she intensely focused on the bird now directly in our intended path. We probably slowed to about 20-25, but the pheasant still clocked us hard at the front edge of her black-cat Jetta. From her mirror, Kim could see that the bird was able to fly off after a few seconds, which surprised me knowing how hard we hit it. Surely, the bird must have been feeling some pain. Anyhow, my next reaction was to say, “You must have not read my letter about honking horns at birds, because it’s often effective to do so.” I lightened up soonafter that and told her she did an excellent job applying the brakes with “Speedy” behind us, etc.

This morning I looked up pheasant in Andrews’s totem book and saw that they have badger feathers.

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Jane Goodall’s Boise performance was a good one. Her opening joke about Johnny Weissmuller choosing that other Jane worked well. In addition, I liked the fact that she didn't try to hide the dark side of chimps. She reached another hilarity highpoint when she compared inpatient chimp behavior to that of some politicians. I was curious about what others in the crowd thought when she started to bring up Global Warming and things along those lines. Evidently, she lectures approximately 300 days a year. I was impressed to hear that. After she show, which was all talk and no visual cues, Teleprompters or even notes, she signed books into the wee hours. Kim bought three books, which Jane signed after a two hour wait and there was still an estimated 800 people patiently waiting in line. One of her Jane’s earliest books caught my eye, but I’m trying to hold back on compulsive book purchases.

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