Tag Archives: anxiety

Lame Adventure 466: Testing My Limits

It is no secret that I am fond of pigeons. When they perch on the sill while I’m at The Grind, I welcome their visits.

Hello there!

Hello there!

I envy their freedom, their swagger and their ability to fly. The irony that they are on the outside of the bars while I’m on the inside is not lost on me. Every so often, mourning doves come around, too, like this pair that visited last month.

Mourning doves hanging out.

Mourning doves that dropped by.

Following a Sunday outing with my friend, Milton, I returned home, entered my abode and noticed that I had a guest perched on my bookshelf.

Guest inside my sanctum sanctorum.

Guest inside my sanctum sanctorum: “If I stay very, very still, I’m sure I’ll be invisible to her.”

I have been under a tremendous amount of stress in recent months. Nothing bad is going on, but I have been extremely preoccupied both at The Grind and on my own time. Two days earlier, on Friday before heading to the subway to go to The Grind, I heard a rustling sound inside my non-working fireplace.

It didn’t faze me.

As I was looking at the guest perched on my bookshelf, my first thought was:

Me: Huh. When did I get a stuffed pigeon?

Then, my guest blinked. I thought:

Me: Holy shit!

Next, I called Building Management. They were home in Brooklyn. They were unfazed, too. They told me to open the window.

Building Management: It’ll find its way out.

Me: How long might that take?

Building Management: Hit it with a broom.

Me (thinking): No way am I hitting it with a broom and risk literally scaring the crap out of it all over the place!

Me (saying): I don’t have a broom.

I have a vacuum cleaner and a whisk broom with a plastic frog handle.

Frog broom.

Frog broom.

Next, I called Milton. He laughed for five minutes straight, then advised:

Milton: Put on your rubber gloves, pick it up and throw it out the window!

Me: Are you insane? I have to climb up to it, it’s going to see me approaching, that should freak it out and then it might fly right at me. I’ll have a heart attack!

Milton: Hit it with a broom!

What is this about people wanting me to hit this poor creature with a broom? I’m not a violent person, I don’t own a broom and I would never hit it with a vacuum cleaner. It occurred to me that it had been in my apartment for three days, probably perched on that shelf the entire time, traumatized in these strange surroundings. It might have watched me ride my spin bike. Seeing me huff and puff in spandex could have traumatized it further. Had it flown around then, I would have certainly had a seizure. It is perverse to think that I had been completely oblivious to a pigeon perched inside my apartment for 72 hours.

It also occurred to me that it had not had anything to eat or drink since it flew out of the fireplace. Because I was not anticipating its visit, I didn’t have any appropriate provisions on hand: birdseed, bagel or pizza. Therefore, I was forced to improvise. I poured pellets of organic kamut, an ancient grain, and some water in a bowl. I placed the meal on a magazine outside the open window, hoping that my guest would chow down, then take the hint and fly away.

My guest didn’t stir.

So, I whistled.

My guest didn’t stir.

I clapped my hands.

My guest didn’t stir.

I shouted:

Me: Hey Birdy, look over here! Food, water, an open window!

Food, water and a Stella Artois ad to crap on, if nature calls.

Food, water and a Stella Artois ad to crap on if nature calls.

My guest didn’t stir.

I took a roll of wrapping paper and tapped it lightly on the talon.

My guest stirred big time, perched briefly on my spin bike’s handlebars and then flew behind a stack of sneaker boxes in an attempt to hide. I cleared the barricade. It was terrified and tried to press itself deeper against the wall. I felt so sorry for it. Then, a piece of a metal fan stand I have been meaning to throw out for the past two years, fell on its wing.

I nearly suffered a stroke and feared that the wing had been broken. Quickly I lifted off the fan stand. Luckily, the wing seemed okay. I was so grateful that stand did not hit it on its head.

I swooped down with gloved hands and picked it up. Pigeons are rather light. Its wings were flapping frantically. I extended my arms out the window, opened my hands and as it started to fly away, a breeze blew the cord from my blinds out the window and the pigeon got caught in the cord. I feared that the cord was strangling it, but only its wing was caught in the cord. It freed itself and flew straight to a tree across the courtyard.

Out this wide open window Birdy flew!

Out this wide open window Birdy flew! Eventually.

We both breathed an epic sigh of relief.

I have not found a single dropping. It was a considerate guest.

But I really prefer you guys perched outside.

But I really prefer you guys perched outside.

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Lame Adventure 366: Birds of a Feather

I thought it was an interesting coincidence that on a day when I found myself nodding out at my desk at The Grind, a pigeon that perched outside my window had the same idea.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Where we diverged was that after it completed its snooze, the reinvigorated avian extravagantly stretched its wings and took flight. I remained in groggy land-locked captivity on the other side of the bars. It’s possible that I drooled.

The Boss had ordered me to work on a Very Important Assignment, the kind of mission with no margin for error. If it’s screwed up she’ll likely have her head handed to her on a plate. Therefore, I am under pressure to be perfect. Even if nothing is screwed up, I can foresee someone down the line getting cranky about some aspect of this project and blaming her. This brings to mind that I have a tendency to philosophically reflect on my fellow man, or on the woman that announced to me, just as an off-Broadway  play that I was volunteer ushering was about to start:

Woman (whispering): You’re sitting in my husband’s seat.

I nearly suffered a heart attack. The House Manager had assigned me that sixth row dead center seat. He’s always on top of his game. I thought:

Me (thinking): The play’s starting RIGHT THIS SECOND. What am I going to do?

Lightning fast, I spring to my feet and apologize profusely for this snafu. I envisioned her husband bolting out of the bathroom, bursting through the house’s closed doors and hotfooting down the aisle at that very moment.

The woman reveals:

Woman: I turned his ticket into the box office. He’s not here. Sit!

She finds my heart stopping terror hilarious. As a volunteer with an obligation to represent this theater in the best possible light at all times, I press my personal mute button hard to silence what I am thinking:

Me (thinking): Are you a psychotic crazy person?  Was that really necessary to say to me right at curtain?

I suffered shallow breathing well into the first act. When an ominous looking bread knife was brandished on stage, I realized that there just might be a little Norman Bates in me, too, but I digress. As I tend to philosophically reflect on my fellow man and woman, factoring in my own experiences with members of the human race, I have concluded that many people are assholes.

Other people at my company are basically treating this project that my boss is spearheading like a hot potato. No one wants to touch it. Therefore, the potato has been handed to me. Maybe when it’s finished I should ask for a title upgrade to Minister of Potato. If I were Elsbeth, my superior, I would have dumped it on me, too. I’m excellent with detail, over-educated and underpaid. What a bargain until …

Oops.

Oops.

I lose consciousness and key in 83,338 of a product that costs $1,416. The line item calculates to $118,007,080. Fortunately, I came to before hitting the ‘enter’ key and reduced the quantity to the intended amount: two.

In my next life, I hope I return as a New York City pigeon. I’d be free. I’d never be bored. I could fly, mate at will, stuff myself with street food, but best of all, I could crap on annoying theater patrons and get away with it. Hey, I’m just a doity boid.