“Modes of Transport” or “Respect the Mule”, a Life Lesson from Josh, Israel

BLOG,Nuggets February 29, 2012 12:06

I don’t remember exactly how I got to that bus stop. Actually, waiting for this train, it slowly comes back to me. I had volunteered to babysit for my friends’ toddler. Insofar as public transportation was concerned, this would prove to be a big week. After crisscrossing the country a handful of times, I arrived at my friends’ house and sat down to write a paper for class, with limited success. The child was asleep before I arrived, and slept straight through the night. (Awesome kid, by the way). My friends returned around midnight, at which point I got some takeout, and it was decided that I would spend the night on the couch, which was comfortable. I slept like a rock. The train ride home took twice as long as a bus, but was well worth it, and when I arrived at the terminus, I had to take a bus anyway, which dropped me a block from my apartment building. It’s at this point I’m reminded of the statistic in Driver’s Education regarding increased probability of a car accident within a short distance from one’s home; the one that’s supposed to make you feel scared to leave your seatbelt off, even for a minute. Between where I stood and where I lived was a walk of perhaps 15 minutes, though, as the bird flies, it might only take 5. I am not a bird. If I were, I might have a different story, or none. Instead of walking the paved sidewalk, I decided to cut straight through the field. The word “field” doesn’t exactly do justice to this particular patch of undeveloped real estate. Mounds of green grass reveal rebar and concrete jutting precariously in all directions, French cars in various states of dismantling, guard dogs tied to a chain, several odd shipping containers, upon one of which a family of peacocks were spotted. Add to this a small petting zoo featuring a rooster with no sense of time and a handful of mules, and well there you have it… our field.

I decided to cut through the field. I wanted to save 10 minutes. I had a heavy backpack, was wearing my jacket with the hood over my head, as rain was intermittent, though at times intense. I climbed over several heaps of assorted trash and rusty rebar, and through it all, it seemed worth it. I would be home more quickly than if I took the sidewalk like all the other chumps. At some point, while walking along and thinking these thoughts, I heard an unmistakable clip-clop, growing louder, approaching from six-o’clock. The hood blocked my peripheral. I slowly turned around. A chestnut-brown muscled mass of mule was bearing down on me. I didn’t know what to do. I instinctively took a small sidestep to the right. And then it happened. The mule stopped. It then gave me what appeared to be a nod, or the equivalent in Mule. I walked away unharmed. He turned around and went back to his post. From my ninth-floor balcony I could see him there, minutes later, solemnly guarding his patch of turf.

Comments are closed