FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: The Bird


[EDITOR’S NOTE: Dave Markwell is taking this week off from writing, so this week we’re re-running one of his previous columns.]

by Dave Markwell

I got flipped off by an old man the other day. I was driving down 7th Avenue and stopped at a crosswalk to allow a woman to cross the street. The lady was standing at the crosswalk and was looking around a little confused, but to me, still seemed to be intending to cross the street. Apparently, she was just confused and stepped back and did not cross. The old man behind me in a small silver car honked at me as I was waiting for the woman to see me stopped and cross the street. I stuck my arm out the window and pointed to the lady, with my left index finger, indicating to the old man why I was stopped in the middle of the road. At this point, his raised a meaty middle finger and shot me the bird through his windshield. I, instinctively, returned fire and had a brief flash of road rage that included an image of grabbing this geezer by the neck, forcibly removing his false teeth from his mouth and chucking them into the fresh beauty bark neatly spread in the planters on the side of the road. This image passed very quickly and I then just smiled and drove on.

I am never the sharpest guy in any room. I am, however, considerate. I was right to stop for the cross-walker and the grouch was wrong to honk while I waited. This was fact and served to release me from any onus of responsibility for receiving the bird. I was good, baby!

I have been flipped off plenty of times over the years. It is always a little troubling, sometimes warranted, sometimes not, but rarely any big deal. It was not a big deal this day and more than anything highlighted for me a sense of evolution that I may have attained. I had a good day following a middle finger by a grumpy old man. In the past, I may have lingered over the gesture. Having someone deliberately and quite personally attack one with a finger does not feel too nice. It has the power to create some negativity that can dwell for some time. It seems that, at least on this day, that power no longer had impact on me. I was unaffected, with the exception of the aforementioned, very brief, denture throwing fantasy.

I soon had to make a left turn and as the angry man passed on my right, I waved (with all fingers) and grinned at him, while shaking my head. He stared straight ahead and did not acknowledge my gesture. My day moved on without incident.

I rode bikes with my son to the marina. We bought ice cream drumsticks at ABC Grocery, chatted up, Yoon, the owner, and rented a movie. I played “Sorry” with my daughter who, once again, delivered a handy beat-down (or two). I barbequed hamburgers while standing bare-footed in my lawn. I had a cold beer with my neighbor at the fence which separates our yards. I went to bed early with a good book and a contented mind. I opened my bedroom window and enjoyed the cool sea breeze blowing through. It was a day of days, a dream day. It could not have been a better day. A better day has not been invented and even a fat, hairless old finger shining in my rear view mirror could not disturb it.

Any evolution I have achieved through the years has been slow and painful, though at age 41, it feels pretty good to understand that good days are available everyday and that the power to manifest them is mine alone and even a crusty, quick-fingered old fart cannot shake my tree. This is a good thing to know and I will continue to stop at crosswalks, every time.

[EDITOR’S NOTE:”Feel Good Friday” is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who extols to all neighbors: “Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!” Also, you can “friend” Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his new exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]


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