Saturday, October 29, 2005

Bare feet and bird poo (part 2)

Ok, so where was I? Oh yes, I remembered to check my feet for shoes because I stopped at the local donut chain to get a much-needed caffeine infusion. This is not normal for me because, as a rule, I boycott the donut shop (my boycotts are legendary – I went off cable television in 1993 and I’m still going strong…). You might be wondering how anyone could boycott a donut joint (I mean c’mon, not even PETA could have a complaint with these guys - and they seem to hate everybody). In a word, well three words, awful customer service.

See, I used to routinely stop by the donut shack for my morning cup o’ joe until all the employees quit. When I say all, I am not exaggerating in the least. I think the only one left in there was the dude who owns the place. Shortly thereafter, the shop was run solely by the man and his wife behind the counter and this marginally intelligent young man (a son or a nephew maybe?) covering the drive-thru window.

Because of my schedule, I have earned partial-year residency status in my car. Therefore, actually getting out of the vehicle and going into the store for a cup of coffee is absolutely out of the question for me. That left me to face the doofus in the drive-thru. Now before you all start sending me hate e-mails about how unkind I am to the low IQ’d people of the world, let me make it perfectly clear that I try my absolute hardest to live by the Golden Rule. I figure if I’m goofy enough to go to work barefoot, then I had better pray really hard that people will cut me some slack along life’s road. I tried to be nice and understanding and patient with his ‘quirks’. I really did. After a couple of weeks, though, I just couldn’t take it anymore that my coffee cost a different price every time I visited, and that two out of three times, he didn’t get my order right (yes – he screwed up ‘MEDIUM BLACK COFFEE, PLEASE’). I think part of this was because while he was manning the drive-thru he was jamming out to his tunes on his Sony Walkman. Either that, or he was wearing some newfangled drive-thru headphones and he was just hallucinating to the beat. Whatever the case, I decided to give my patience and my wallet a rest and I started firing up the ol’ Black and Decker at home.

About the time that all this was going on, I was reelected to serve on the board of my homeowners’ association despite the fact that I ran on a platform of ‘Please Don’t Vote For Me’. I guess it’s true that incumbents usually have the advantage, because I got stuck with – I mean honored with the job for another two years. A war was brewing between the neighbor at the end of my street and the people on each side and behind him (that pretty much means between him and everyone within walking distance). The brouhaha centered on the fact that the quiet grandfather-type who lived with his nice quiet family members down there had this morning ritual of feeding the birds and doing yoga (or the Hustle – nobody is quite sure) in his backyard before his morning walk. That seems innocuous enough, doesn’t it? Well, we live four miles south of Lake Michigan, so these birds are seagulls – known to some as flying rats. And we’re not talking about five to ten seagulls – we’re talking about 100 to 200 seagulls (rumour has it he was tossing up to four loaves of bread a day into their greedy little gullets). All this at 6:00 a.m. – well, at least that’s when HIS ritual started. The seagulls started showing up around 5:30 a.m. to get a front row seat. In case you have never met a hungry seagull, let me tell you that the phrases ‘quiet please’ and ‘poo-free zone’ have absolutely no impact on them whatsoever. Alarm clocks were quickly becoming obsolete. Cars, teeter-totters, picnic tables and porch swings developed a fine sheen coating of bird crap on them with the added bonus of that lovely Lake Michigan aroma. Needless to say, the torches and pitchforks were at the ready, and the neighbors looked to their elected officials to stop the insanity.

In our defense, we half-heartedly tried to intervene. We informed the gentleman that we had received several complaints. We couldn’t actually make him stop because while we are required to have our shutters painted the right shade of mauve, there is no covenant prohibiting a homeowner from identifying his home to all of the other homeowners by marking his roof with a steady stream of white seagull poo. He informed us that we would be wise to butt out since it was a religious ritual that he performed every morning. We requested that he go over to the park to commune with the seagulls, and he politely told us to go “f” ourselves. We thought that was good advice and we did what all other reasonable politicians would do – absolutely nothing. That little decision will probably not only get me reelected next year, but will probably get me elevated to board president. Sigh.

The neighbors were predictably irate, and possibly out for blood. They complained to the town council to no avail. They pooled their resources and consulted a local shark who specialized in such situations, again, to no avail. They even contemplated having an XTREME-Games version of a trap and skeet shoot until the Department of Natural Resources shut them down (apparently it’s against some ordinance or law to harm seagulls, and between you and me, as much as I detest the stupid birds, I’m glad the DNR stepped in).

Those neighbors must have felt as I did on a particular visit to the Brookfield Zoo with my mom and aunt when I was about five or six. I could read then, and I delighted in announcing to everyone what we were looking at (must have been a sign that I would be a lawyer someday). When we came across an empty cage with a sign that said ‘Dung Field’ and I remember feeling a little confused since I didn’t see an animal within. As we were walking away to go check out the camels, yaks and zebras, the following occurred (this is another one of those oft-retold stories where you miss the added value of my mother imitating Tiny Me in the retelling):

Tiny Me: Mommy, what’s dung?

{The Lord God, Almighty commands bird flying overhead to drop white blob of crap on my bare shoulder}

{Tiny Me erupts into ear-shattering wails}

Mommy and Aunt Laurie: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

Great story, Mom. She is so fond of saying that sometimes you’re the dog, sometimes you’re the hydrant. Now I know why.

Last I heard, yoga grandpa got tired of the local kids tormenting his grandkids and compromised by doing his disco moves in his own backyard but feeding the flock over in the park. Now only the community playground equipment has that white aromatic sheen to it.

Oh, and I heard that his son/son-in-law with whom he lives owns the donut shop where the village idiot works the drive-thru window with his headphones on. Figures. When I drove past the storefront window on my way into the drive-thru lane yesterday, I noticed him in there dancing with his headphones on. Thankfully, though, it looks like the management has moved him to the front counter where I’m sure he’ll be much more effective.


Nancy said...

Dear Rocky:

I was at the beach. Park Point and there is a sign, do not feed the seagulls, people were feeding them anyway. One pooped right on my head. What a God awful feeling. It was like someone broke an egg on my head.


Rocky (Racquel) said...

All I can say, Nancy, is that I truly feel your pain... hehe