Whip Finish


Ralph Long - Dec 01, 2014

To the casual observer, when a smattering of bugs suddenly hit the windshield it is just that, a bug; nothing more, nothing less. It's just another bug that they will have to scrub hard to remove later from their windshield. However, when that same smattering of bugs hits your windshield, an entirely different thought process takes place. Instantly, your breathing stops for just an instant upon recognition of the entomological gift that has just been bestowed upon us. This mental acknowledgement is then followed by a moving of the head which from the casual observer would look like bewilderment or panic over having just missed your turn. When in reality, though admittedly in a mild panic, you are really just trying to identify the nearest body of water that your gift would most likely be part of. No need to slow down, just a quickly glimpse is all you need and it's safely catalogued away for future reference. Besides, the cars behind you could possibly contain fly fishermen as well, and no sense in drawing attention by tipping your hand to this hatch identification.

Several miles down the road, after catching hell for almost killing your wife by paying more attention to stupid bugs than was required for the road, you pull into a gas station. You are reminded again that you do not need gas, since you have half a tank remaining and Sally and George's cabin is a mere 15 miles ahead, an you are already 20 minutes late. Stoically, you absorb this heckling without comment as a good husband quickly learns to do, since it's nearly dark and a thing as important as identifying the hatch on your windshield supersedes the pride or moral victory any argument could hope to provide. Once pulled in, with the pump running, you casually turn to the windshield cleaning station and grab the brush. This does not go unnoticed by your wife, since you have not cleaned the windshield of your truck for the past 15 years that she has known you. You see her eyes follow you like a perched red-tailed hawk watching a mole run lost in a lit parking lot. So you fake intently cleaning with the squeegee, as you are really staring at bug parts scattered across the glass. But they are too small to figure out. Frustrated, and without conscious thought you reach out and pluck a near-whole specimen form the glass to observe more closely. That's it! A Pale Evening Dun! The smile breaks across your face as you recognize the bug, just in time to see your wife's eyes widen, as she too has just figured out your hidden intentions. It is then in that instant as you watch her silently mouth the words or at least they are silent from where you currently stand just where the acronym "OMG" originated. And with that final fleeting eye contact you are guilty.

The first few minutes after leaving the gas station are silent. Yet you can "feel" the eyes burning a hole through the side of your head. It's at times like these where all of your well-oiled husbandry skills need to take hold. Eyes on the road! Don't look! Ignore her and you win! And then for some unknown reason, you cave. Turning innocently towards the passenger seat you catch the gaze. Then after a few seconds of blank stare which are a cover for trying not to smirk, you say the inevitable words; "What"? The slow shaking of her head and look of utter disbelief on her face confirms what she is thinking as she looks at the man who so blatantly disregarded everything she had just said in order to identify BUGS on his windshield. All the while trying to come to grips with what she sees before her as she attempts to remind herself of just why she married the bridge troll that is currently driving the car she is in. Yet still, in the pale light of the dashboard, soon to cast witness to a domestic killing, you nevertheless are in a place of calm. Because what YOU saw was a Pale Evening Dun hatch at 7:30 p m, which came off of the Little Lehigh. And that is really all you need at the moment.

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