Thursday, February 1, 2018

Traffic delay due to turkey

It's 4 pm and traffic is at a dead stop. Occasionally there's a slow crawl forward, but it's clear by the sea of red tail-lights no one is going anywhere fast. In an attempt to determine what is going on, I roll down my window, allowing me to crane my neck. And that's when I hear swearing and shouting, with phrases like "stupid bird" and "begging to be dinner" littering the air. Suddenly traffic begins to crawl forward and that is when a 4 ft winged brown figure comes into view, clearly agitated and making body motions that warn every human of the consequences of getting too close. The swearing and threats continue as people drive by, but it's also clear no one is willing to risk getting too close to this singular wild turkey that is roaming the streets of Cambridge.

All I can do in the moment is laugh, thinking of the reaction I will get once I give my explanation for why I'm running late.

The whole week has been an exercise in navigating turkeys. I'm currently two days into a workshop training 20 university-level students from China that requires 7 hours of teaching each day, not including prep. They are doing amazingly well, but given the language barrier we are all suffering from severe exhaustion (yesterday they were visibly relieved to have a guest speaker who spoke Mandarin).  In addition to this, Grey and I have been finalizing travel plans as I officially have an interview a week from Wednesday. On top of preparing a talk on material I haven't touched in over a year, I will also be flying solo with the Beats to Seattle as they will be staying with my amazing aunt and uncle while I'm doing said interview. Both kids are extremely excited about the upcoming trip. Grey is doing enough worrying for all adults involved. All of this on top of me teaching my other course, making arrangements for students to access training to do Illumina sequencing, learn Unix and figure out a weekly meeting to discuss research progress.

The odd part about all of this is even though I know I'm stressed from all that is happening and upcoming, I'm actually in a weird state of rolling with it. Part of it is I'm too tired from being stressed out to thinking of anything else, but like encountering the turkey in traffic I also know the only way to resolve any inconvenience or stress involves not pissing off the agitated bird.


  1. Navigating are doing it with grace.

    Happy and safe travels. Thinking of you.

  2. That is a lot to juggle, even without literal turkeys! Will you be able to take a few minutes to yourself just to pause and breathe and relax before your interview? If nothing else, I hope you can plan a bit of down time for your mental health in the near future - you've been through a lot!

  3. I am now in love with the phrase, "navigating turkeys." I'm glad you're rolling with it, and I hope you have safe travels and a good interview!


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