Holding my hot, morning coffee in one hand while repositioning a wayward cardboard box near the grocery store recycle bin with the other, I look up.
"Can you help me?"
I turn towards a well-coifed man wearing largish, white-rimmed sunglasses speaking to me in an Australian brogue.
"Can you help me with an injured pigeon?"
There's a request you don't hear every day.
"I had him once and he got away. He flew towards the parking lot."
This makes me self-conscious; if I weren't standing within Boulder city limits, I'd be more so. As I walk alongside this concerned citizen nearing the first row of parked cars, I try to silence the part of me that's feeling embarrassed to rescue a pigeon in plain sight. A few strides more and we spot the bird. A few more strides and the Aussie swoops in and grabs him.
"His leg's not looking so good."
His leg looks broken.
"What should we do?"
Based upon the choice of pronouns, I am now fully involved. A passerby overhears the question, sees the bird in hand, and suggests that we call the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. I remember the wayward cardboard box and we head over to retrieve it; conveniently, it comes with a cardboard lid. Once the pigeon is tucked away within safe, temporary confines, I introduce myself.
"I'm waiting for my car," says Jeremy. "It's over at the stereo store. Do you know about how far away the Rehabilitation Center is?"
I motion towards Whole Pets at the far end of the parking lot. I tell Jeremy that they have info on Greenwood so he heads over while I sip still-warm coffee and keep watch over the box and its hidden contents. Odds are 50/50 that I'll be putting work on hold to drive a pigeon who-knows-how-many miles up the road. Standing outside in shirtsleeves on a 50-degree January morning, my Type A personality is somehow OK with it but only by the slimmest of margins.
"I got the number," mentions Jeremy walking up.
Before he can dial it, his phone rings. The stereo work on Jeremy's car is completed ahead of schedule. We look at one another.
"I can take her," blinks the Aussie.
Although I would have, I don't argue. Instead, I offer to buy Jeremy a morning beverage for the road.
"Maybe next time I see you here," he says.
I tuck the box into the hatch of his Subaru, we shake hands, and the de facto ambulance, driver and patient zoom away. As I head off to meet my daily responsibilities, the story about the kid on the beach throwing starfish--one by one--back into the ocean pops into my head. Cheers to giving a damn, cheers to Jeremy.