Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Fireworks and Pigeons

Recently, my roommate burst into my room. His eyes held the haunted look of a man who'd seen something terrible: war. Death. The Prequels. He leaned against my desk, limbs and voice shaking, and asked:

"Jim, do you know if pigeons migrate for the winter?"

"Um," I said.

"Look it up." Not a request, not even a command, but a statement of something I needed to do. If there's a multiverse, and every choice leads to infinite other possible outcomes across that multiverse, I would still have googled pigeons in all of them.

No, we discovered. Pigeons do not migrate. In fact, their homing abilities are extraordinary. Will wasn't thrilled to learn this.

See, our apartment had a pigeon problem in the summer. We have exterior porches, and there's one additional porch outside of the laundry room. Since that isn't exactly a happening place for humans, pigeons moved right in and, as pigeons do, started poopin' up the place.

Cue entry of landlord with powerwasher. The powerwasher left grooves in the wood. I was at work that day, but I'm told the resultant guano mist drifted over to a neighbor's building while she sunned herself on her deck. Awkward.

Results of that: fewer pigeons. But two decided to stay. And when Will strolled upstairs to do laundry many nights hence, he got a faceful of pissed-off pigeon. Or possibly frightened pigeon. Confused, even? Pigeons aren't the most expressive creatures. Anyway, we've had pigeons for a while now, and it's always a lovely game of Am I Going To Fly At Your Face any time you head upstairs to do laundry.

But funny thing: since our apartment has a no-pets policy (except, ironically, for birds), and since pigeons sometimes look like they're kissing, Will grew attached to the little cooing buckets of pestilence. He suggested that we'd be kicking out a couple just trying to make their way in the world. Despite my desperate, yearning need for some kind of pet around this eerily silent living space, I asked if he'd feel the same way about a homeless couple living up there.

So: we've tried one fake owl. That didn't work. We tried three owls, two of which moved their heads and hooted. Today, just one day into that phase, Will texted me to let me know we have "three owls and three pigeons who just don't give a shit." It's a little different, though: before, they roosted on the windowsill, above our heads, and you could walk by without disturbing them. Now there's an owl on that windowsill, and those flying rats strut about your feet, so every step you ask yourself: do I feel lucky?

Maybe we should try fireworks? I'd make the drive to Tennessee Alabama myself. Something tells me the firecrackers in this postcard might be...slightly overkill, but then again, there's no kill quite like it. If I had a few plasma grenades, I'd aim to get a sticky.

You know, the SO HAPPY on this postcard does somewhat melt the cavern of ice Starbucks MoonDollars constructs around my heart on a daily basis. But I have to point one thing out.

Any dragon kite over 7 meters long damn sure better not look that happy, because any dragon kite that size damn sure better ward off evil spirits or bad luck or something. I'm not being smarmy, neither! I'm the man who missed prom thanks to appendicitis and who missed callbacks thanks to clumsicitis. I hypothesize that if I carried a kite at those times--a kite somewhere between Jack Bauer and Kohaku--I would've been fine and dandy.

Granted, it is 3 AM, so this hypothesis could be flawed.

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