It all started with a dead bird.
I'd never been superstitious in any way until that year, my 21st, and that bird. Now, however, hitting a bird with my car is almost certain death--an event which makes me run for the covers and stay there for approximately 3 days. After that amount of time, I know from experience, it's likely safe to come out and play. Maybe. But, it's still tentative.
I never could decide if this particular bird had a death wish--avian depression with suicidal tendencies, or if my speeding to make it to work on time put me in just the right position, but the little fucker certainly flew in the direct path of my car, a tan 1986 VW Jetta complete with crank sunroof which resembled a cardboard box more than a vehicle. Either way, dead on impact was really an understatement. I hate hitting living, breathing things and felt genuinely sorrowful for the bird's passing but continued on to work anyway. No funerals this day. Little did I know that karma had quite a downward spiral in store for me over the next 3 days.
This was Wednesday, mid-morning. By Wednesday night everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Work, a Winn-Dixie pharmacy at the time, was awful. Ill customers, a bitch of a boss, and an argument with a jealous, petty, and obtuse coworker can easily ruin anyone's day. It wasn't anything atypical just yet. That evening, I had to clean some offices with friends for their parents' business. The offices were in Quincy, FL--a place where many of a new circle of friends resided. The girl and I drove down in the work van; her brother and another friend rode in his truck. This was purposeful, of course. They cut out early leaving us to do the work and cover for them while they went to score some weed. Fine. No one would know when exactly we left, so we decided to take the van over to hang out with some of these friends when we finished. The girl still lived at home and her parents were strict (and also Jehovah's Witnesses), so this was definitely not an approved course of action. They thought I was an angel...don't ask me why. In retrospect, compared to their kids, I probably was (When you watch your friends smoking meth out of a lightbulb, you realize things aren't exactly kosher). We hung out for a minute but nothing much was going on so we decided to head back. Between the friends' house and the road home, the power steering on the van went out. We pulled over and called her brother. He didn't answer. Of course, he didn't. He was high and probably laughing loud enough that he missed the phone or was laughing at the phone as it rang. He was like that a lot when he was high. He was also a really good lay when he was high but that's a different blog about Halloween candy and homemade pipes...Rather than deal with her parents, she decided to drive it back anyway and hope for the best. It wouldn't crank back up. The evening didn't end pleasantly and needless to say, my angelic reputation was greatly diminished.
The next day, I killed a turtle on the way home from another miserable day at work. I hadn't killed anything before that bird and it was starting to really bother me.
That evening, the same girl borrowed her grandfather's truck so she could drive us back down to Quincy. She made up some lie, I guess, about getting food or catching a movie...I can't remember. We didn't do either of those things. Instead, we were with a big group of our friends. Everyone but me was pretty fucked up. I didn't get high when I had to work the next day. I was often ridiculed for not being a 'true smoker' in those days like that would change my mind on the whole issue. I'm a leader not a follower unless I'm strapped down--then the tables are pleasantly turned. Did the police show up that night? Yes. Yes, they did. Was my life almost shredded to pieces by a misdemeanor drug charge? Very close. Luckily, after a good pat down and questioning in the flash and spin of the lights, someone admitted to owning the drugs. He was already on probation for something similar and figured he might as well. The police confiscated the drugs for their own personal use and left us alone.Perhaps karma has a little empathy. A smidge...considering I wasn't arrested. However, we did hit a deer on the way home and totaled her grandfather's truck. We were fine. The deer? Not so much. I cried about the deer. She cried about the truck. We fought over each other's ridiculousness and things ended pretty ugly.
Friday wasn't any more pleasant and that night was really the culmination of events, in a way. I had huge plans for the evening--a Pivotal/Core concert down in Tallahassee. People were depending on me for a ride, and after the last two days, I knew live music would be a much needed dose of happy for my soul. but, I was a 3 time wildlife murderer now. I should have known things wouldn't be so easy. I got myself ready after work and headed down way early to round everyone up. We stopped for drinks and candy. My car wouldn't start. Experiments with jumper cables, a battery, and a eclectic assortment of volunteer mechanics led to nothing. Not a spark of hope...the time of music was drawing nearer and I was desperate. Sitting there at that moment trying to turn the key at the latest helper's instruction with no result, everything just clicked into place...
That fucking kamikaze bird!!
Everything had gone downhill from that moment bottoming out with this. I had now been party to 3 fucked up vehicles and 3 dead animals in 3 days not to mention all the other--the guy I liked fucking one of my friends, for instance. Fuck that bird, man. I felt incredibly guilty for killing it and by sheer force of will, my ass was going to see Pivotal. Right about that moment, a random guy walked up, peered under the hood, wiggled a wire, and the car worked. We took off...it tried to run hot several times. We all had our fingers crossed. We would make it. At this point, I would have hitchhiked. Possibly. Considering we were almost there, walking was an option. A red light stopped us--one more obstacle on our journey to heaven a.k.a. Floyd's Music Store. The temp was about to redline and I said, "Come on, baby...just 2 traffic lights and a parking space away from happiness."
From the back seat, a voice piped up, "Don't forget the hooker."
"What?!" I said glancing into the rearview mirror.
With a wiley grin, he replied, "Two traffic lights, a parking space, and a hooker away from happiness."
We made it, and all it cost me was my sanity and five bucks.