I have not been having a banner week. I’ve overslept every day. I keep missing my regular train coming into the office. I’ve been arriving later than usual. Once at the grind I’ve been fact checking and proofreading a 365 page tome about tile that I fully expect I will encounter again should Hell exist and I become a resident. Completely exhausted half a page into my punishing assignment, I remove my glasses, rub my eyes, and when I put my glasses back on, what do I see but this puffy pigeon perched on the ledge outside my window.
I ask my colleague, Ling:
Me: Do you think this pigeon’s sick or sleeping?
Ling gets up and looks at the bird.
Ling: It’s not asleep. Its eyes are open.
She returns to her desk and the pigeon closes its eyes.
Me: Hey, I think it’s asleep now.
Ling gets up to look at it again. The pigeon opens its eyes.
Me: Wait, forget it. Its eyes aren’t closed.
Ling sits back down.
Ling: You should quit looking at it.
Me: You’re right.
I take out my camera and start photographing it. Ling flashes the I-cannot-believe-this-stupidity-of-yours look but holds her tongue, her way of ignoring the situation and probably hoping the culprit will go away — the pigeon or me.
I hear Elsbeth, our boss, stirring. She has just printed something and is approaching the copier directly across from my desk. I resume proofreading. Elsbeth returns to her office. I resume my pigeon-watching and ask Ling:
Me: What if it dies? What do I do then? This pigeon is directly in my sightline. Am I going to be stuck staring at a pigeon corpse rotting on my sill for weeks? I dread that!
Ling: Call Jose and he’ll deal with it.
Jose is our go-to building services guy. He’s always been someone I can count on. I take a closer look at the Urban Wildlife on the Sill.
Me: First, the economy tanks, and now this. Does the suffering ever end?
Ling: It’s a pigeon.
Me: I know that, but I hate to see a creature* suffer.
*If it was a rat scurrying on my windowsill, I am certain that my compassion would shoot straight out that window.
Ling: Seriously, quit looking at it.
I take Ling’s advice and resume proofreading for a ten count. Then, I sneak another peek at the feral avian. All that I can see is a tail feather. It’s now moved to the corner where it’s nestled against the brick wall. Since I have transformed myself into an Animal Planet reporter I provide Ling with an unsolicited update about the pigeon’s progress. She distinctly looks like someone that would prefer to change the channel possibly to the Shut the Hell Up Network. I return to my desk and proofread another half-sentence but since I can only glimpse that tail feather, I’m quickly back on my feet. Ling looks at me. She screams inside her head:
Ling: SIT DOWN AND QUIT THE BIRD WATCHING!!!!!!!!!!
Then, a miracle happens.
It flies away. I am elated. I focus on proofreading for the remainder of the day but craving squab. I suffer fresh guilt.