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The day the ostrich died

April 18, 2009

Today, after 5 long days of work, I saw the bus coming across the ramp to take me home and discovered something amazing – I can run! I’m not sure if I’m ready to put aside the whole foot surgery excuse for being lazy, but it can’t be denied. I ran, in all my navy blue polyester Naturalizer granny shoed glory across the ramp – pulling about 90 pounds worth of bags no less.

I don’t know if it was the fact that I flew five days in a row, or that my pilots were annoying me, or that I got up at 3:45 this morning, but I was so glad to be off work. I did get to have a cup of coffee with my favorite pilot today which made things a little better, but it’s been a long week.

One thing that has been nice about my week has been my passengers. I didn’t come across anyone who was terribly rude. There were actually quite a few friendlies. Yesterday on the way to Wichita a group of men came and sat in the back near me. Their accents were as redneck as I have ever heard. They said they were from Douglasville and we were trying to figure out how we grew up within 30 miles of each other but could barely understand each other. The one who chose to sit right next to me was 47 and had me laughing from the time I sat down. At first I was laughing at the number of double negatives and don’t never got none of them’s he was throwing into every sentence. I wish I had had a tape recorder. He was fidgety and hyper like a 14 year old boy. He kept asking for drinks cause he said they mellowed him out. I wasn’t sure if that was a good idea, but if it would make him calm down I would consider it.

Somehow in the midst of all the words coming out of his mouth I caught that he had killed an ostrich. This is a story I need to hear. He started by telling me that he was in a Mexican restaurant with some friends and they were “all cut up.” His girlfriend was mad – no it was his wife – no his girlfriend. He decided to drive home (I later found out the girlfriend was supposed to drive, but since she got mad she started drinking and rode with someone else). On the drive home he went off the road and hit a big green pole. But before he hit the pole he ran through someone’s fence and knocked it down. When he woke up in the hospital one of his employees (yes, this man is responsible for other people) was standing there looking at him, twirling the ends of his mustache (complete with hand motions) with his wife and his girlfriend both standing behind him. He thought that he had died and gone to hell.

After three months of recovery he felt really bad about the fence and went back to the place where he wrecked. He told the guy he wanted to pay for his fence. The guy said “It’s not my fence I’m so upset about. When you drove off the road the tire came off your truck and hit my prize ostrich that was sleeping next to the fence and killed it. That’s what I’m upset about.” I guess just to make sure, the ostrich killer guy called the tow company and confirmed that there were in fact feathers on the tire when they collected his truck. So he had to buy that man a new $700 ostrich AND pay to fix the fence.

The man sitting on the other side of me and I both wondered to each other “who needs fiction when you have real life?”

I also found out that the ostrich killer has two girlfriends now (no more wife). Conveniently they’re both named Jennifer. One is Mean Jennifer. The other is Nice Jennifer. Nice Jennifer knows about Mean Jennifer, but Mean Jennifer doesn’t know about Nice Jennifer. And if she ever finds out everybody better watch out. I wondered just how mean Mean Jennifer could be. “She’s just mean – like try to run over you with a truck mean.” He said Mean Jennifer is getting kind of old, she’s almost 29, so he might have to trade her in. At this point I figured he must have a lot of money to be able to trade women in at this rate. He said it does help. He also has lots of toys – trucks, cars, boats, jetskis.

That made my day. I did confirm that he was no longer drinking and driving and that he was sorry for his mistakes.

And really, who needs fiction when real life is this interesting?

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