Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Butterfly Effect, writ large

I have been thinking about the "Butterfly Effect" recently. You know, not the cheesy movie but the general concept from chaos theory, positing that a butterfly flaps it's wings in Peru, the groundhog doesn't see his shadow, we have six more weeks of winter and that causes a hurricane to form off of Africa--all because of the minute perturbations in the atmosphere caused by that Peruvian butterfly. I had my own "Butterfly Effect" experience, and it wasn't a subtle perturbation.
I was riding downtown on a one-way, quasi-residential, quasi-business street, doing about twenty-five miles an hour and cruising up towards a fairly major intersection with a rapidly yellowing green light.
About three or four car-lengths short of the intersection , I noticed this absolutely beautiful Eastern Tiger Swallowtail floating on the breeze like the notes of a song--then following the airstream directly up and under my visor. The wind plastered it across my face, with thorax along my nose and one wing completely blocking each eye. This crazed kamikaze butterfly was trying to kill us both in some ferocious lepidopteran rage.
I proceeded through the intersection, relying completely on my mental recollection of what I had just seen, while delicately removing the poor butterfly from my face with my clutch-hand and grinding it to bits on my leg(Just kidding--it actually flew away once I got it out of my helmet).
But my good friends in Disaster Relief at the American Red Cross will be happy to know that based on the results of this weekend's ride, there should be a significantly fewer number of hurricanes forming off the coast of Africa--if you know what I mean.
You don't have to thank me.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

the dust from his wings that came off on your glove unfortunately made the gloves slightly more sticky in the next rain fall which resulted in you braking just a little later than otherwise which means that the person crossing the street just missed you going around the corner, didn't stop to think of how they missed motorcycling thereby arriving on time for their meeting which so surprised his superior as to cause him to issue a raise on the spot. The pedestrian was so esctatic about this that he decided to celebrate by purchasing a motorcycle, something dearly missed in his life. This put one more motorcycle on the HOV lane the next week which pushed that SUV driving mom over the edge at the audacity of those bikers and caused her to miss her exit. Her kids were late for soccer and their team lost the game, all cause you couldn't see fit to properly close your visor. nice job buddy >:-P