Tag Archives: pigeons

Lame Adventure 334: Lost and Found

Losing stuff is a daily occurrence in New York City and this is not just in reference to the propensity of subway riders losing their tempers in this congested metropolis.

An outraged response to MTA cheery self-promotion.

New Yorkers lose their cats.

Anyone seen Chester? Did you look under the sink?

New Yorkers lose their socks.

Sock Monster by the kids at PS 9. (Nice to know where the tubes I lost in the 80s went.)

Sometimes I draw the short straw and I’m the loser on the subway.  Once on my way home from The Grind, I did not lose my temper, but I did lose my umbrella.  This happened while I was sprinting across the 14th Street subway platform to transfer from a local train to the uptown express.  While doing my anemic Usain Bolt impersonation, I unwittingly dropped my umbrella, but speedy me did manage to hop onto that express train just before the doors shut.  The reward for my victory was reaching my stop three minutes and seven seconds faster and arriving home a helluva wetter.

Recently I thought I had lost a book, but fortunately, my pet puppet goat, Bill E. had it.

“I’m on page 103.”

Last week, I sliced my right index finger.  I have no idea how this injury occurred, but I realized that I have now lost my chance to seriously pursue a mid-life crappy-hand modeling career.

“Let me see.”

More often, I’m the one that finds another’s loss lying in the street. Sometimes someone’s loss is my gain, such as when I found a dollar entering the 72nd Street subway station.

It pays to ride the subway.

I applied it toward my replacement umbrella.

Just this week I noticed a tie, a pair of gloves, and a potato.

Tie.

Gloves (flattened by cars).

Spud.

I am sure the rightful owners wondered:

Rightful owner:  Gee, what happened to my [tie, gloves, potato]?

Then, there is stuff that someone no longer wants so they purposely leave it out in an act of passive aggressive charity.

One of a kind combo — microwave in chair.

Recently, I saw a sofa complete with detachable feet, a pair of men’s boots (people in New York are big fans of leaving shoes out), and some mats that I first thought might be for yoga, but upon closer inspection I ascertained better suitability to absorb car grease, or possibly candidacy for residence in a landfill.

Sofa with feet detached.

Leather boots going elf-toe route.

Mats. Next stop can to frame left.

I kept a close eye on the sofa.  First the detachable feet went missing, then the entire sofa itself.  I suppose what is one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, especially if you’re someone that treasures bed bugs.

I agree.

Considering the recent epidemics of these pests in Gotham City, I steer clear of street swag.

There are also some distinct intentional dumps of stuff, stuff that the former owners have decided must go so they just toss it in the street willy-nilly to sound as irritating as former Secretary of Irritation in the Shrub Administration, Donald Rumsfeld.  In this case I have seen chair casters and last year, a movie-style popcorn popper filled with greasy unpopped corn kernels.  It was as if this machine got ditched in mid-use possibly because the original owner has severe A.D.D. or was just a typical Type A orifice – no, not thinking the ear canal.

“I feel detached.”

Degrading departure.

Another New York City specialty is wild trash.  Wild trash is trash that is not in a bag that’s deposited in a trash can awaiting pick-up. This is untamed garbage at its most feral. Newspaper is a popular breed of this type of refuse.  If sidewalks could read, New York’s would be the most literate in the country.

Public health announcement courtesy of the pavement.

Although this has yet to make the evening news, urban wildlife out here is suffering an obesity epidemic.  Who wants to peck at dry seed out of a feeder when the pizza is so abundant in the street?  That would really be bird-brained.

Pizza party!

Notice how both the pigeons and the sparrows completely ignored the pencil — not a writer in the flock.

Finally, there’s what I call the hit and miss style of dealing with wild trash.

Side by side.

NASA can fly a vehicle to Mars but we’ve yet to equip a banana peel with a spring mechanism allowing it to bounce off the eater’s head into the trash can.  Now that would be progress.

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Lame Adventure 289: Spring Preview!

Even though the weather is chilly again today and it’s not expected to escape the forties on Saturday, this past Thursday we had a lovely sneak preview of spring here in Gotham City with temperatures climbing 24 degrees above average to 71. Yet, it wasn’t a record high.  That was set back in 1987 when it was 76 on that date (March 8th) in weather history. I emailed this news to my Special Someone who has been away and added:

Me: Have I told you that I’ve become a meteorologist in your absence?

After taking a walk outside on this beautiful Thursday, my colleague, (not) Under Ling (anymore), was feeling warm when she returned to our stuffy office.

(not) Under Ling (anymore):  Can we open the door?

She knows I have a peeve about people leaving the door to our office open.

Me:  Why open the door?  Why not open the window?

(not) Under Ling (anymore) gives me a look that asks:

(not) Under Ling (anymore)’s Look asking:  Who’s going to do that?

Me:  You’re practically thirty years younger than me; you’re going to do it!

My Look barking:  You know that there’s no way I’m going to risk pulling, straining or dislocating any precious body part just to open the window.

Hearing that message from My Look loud and clear (not) Under Ling (anymore) carefully climbs atop a counter to open one of our windows.  I build her confidence from the confines of my chair.

Me:  There are bars; you’re not going to fall out [muttering inaudibly] I hope.

(not) Under Ling (anymore) is a very svelte individual.  As she struggles to dislodge the stubborn window she asks:

(not) Under Ling (anymore):  Why are there bars on our windows?

Me:  To discourage us from throwing ourselves out.  We set the standard for Foxconn.

(not) Under Ling (anymore):  Hey, it’s stuck!

Me:  Get Greg to do it.

(not) Under Ling (anymore) asks our department’s hero, my sidekick Greg, to intervene.  Greg leaps into our office in a single bound resisting the urge to sing:

Greg not singing: Here I come to save the day!

Me not saying what I’m thinking if he would sing:  Just open the window, will you?

Greg muscles the window open.

Our first opened window of 2012.

The warm breeze is pleasant prompting me to take a stroll to personally check out just how lovely this day is in Tribeca.  It is a perfect day for many reasons.

Whenever I can forgo boots for sneakers I have happy feet, even though the seam from my sock was actually slicing through my little toe like a dagger.

There is torture happening inside this Jack Purcell sneaker.

Cute Italian compact cars look cuter.

A trashed coffee cop underneath barely detracts from this Fiat's cuteness.

Great weather is a great way to flaunt one’s sleeve tattoos.

Rachel who's got great tats flaunting them. My liver spots offer no competition.

Although I have easily walked down this stretch of Hudson Street hundreds of times before, I’ve never noticed this flower power wallpaper until now.

I feel transported back in time to Haight Ashbury circa 1967.

Flower stands just look even more colorful on a warm and sunny day.

I'll take one of everything.

A box of shamrocks offering a blunt reminder that it is still March.

Green beer, green bagel and green tongue-time is coming.

Pursuing a mate.

"C'mon, baby, check out my collection of pizza crusts in my nest."

Relaxing on a Duane Park bench with a Special Someone.

Special Someones Sasha and Vaughn.

It’s a good time to go bopping in a pink tutu.

But keeping it real with the winter boots.

It’s a great time to go tree climbing.

"Bet you can't do this, Lady!" "Bet you're right, Sonny!"

An even better time to pretend you’re an area rug.

“I’m dreaming I'm a shag carpet.”

A building built in 1891 carries its age well under a clear blue sky.

You still look fascinating for 121.

It’s terrific biking weather.

You don't even have to pay to park. Yet.

One of the nicest surprises happens at 6:03 in the evening while exiting the 72nd Street subway station on the Upper West Side.

It's 67 degrees!

Lame Adventure 282: Slight Heart Attack Time

Possibly I’m deluding myself, but I like to think that I’m not too squeamish nor am I a wimp.  I will admit that I don’t do well with the dead.  Residing anywhere for any length of time one will encounter road kill.  That’s a fact of life.  Here in New York, the unpleasant sight of a flattened pigeon or rodent is common.

Splat the pigeon.

Whenever I encounter the downside of nature, I make a mental note of where not to look and what street I will side step for the next few days.  Every time I do stumble upon some creature’s untimely demise, it is always a bit jarring to me.  I am never truly relaxed when I glimpse a mangled form of what was once very likely earlier that same day a living critter.  This does not imply that for the rest of that day that image will haunt me.  It is an isolated shock in the moment, but then I move on, forget about it and resume whatever it is I am doing.  I don’t dwell on the frozen lifeless cat put out with the trash.  Okay, that dead cat I saw nearly twenty years ago was exceptional.  It has remained stored in my memory bank  forever, but usually, I delete these images almost as quickly as I see them, unless, of course I photograph them.  Hey, you never know when you might need a picture of pigeon splat.

On a recent rainy afternoon I had to run an errand near my office in Tribeca.  Sheltered under my umbrella, I was moving at a brisk pace, focused on getting to where I was going when my eye caught that simultaneously familiar and shocking sight of a limp heap lying atop the corner of a tree planter.  I thought the usual:

Me:  Yuck.

Then, I did the usual.  I looked away and walked past.  I assumed it was a dead blackbird, similar to the kind of bird featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s film, The Birds.  As I raced away, I was uncharacteristically still thinking about that bird.  I felt disturbed.  Birds do not normally drop dead atop tree planters.  Some cruel creep had to have harmed that poor defenseless creature.  I felt outrage.  I wondered:

Me: Was it poisoned or shot?

Scene of the crime.

People, their inhumanity and their lack of respect for the living infuriate me.  I write a blog, I have a voice, and on a good day I have seven readers (if my friends and sister check in).  I am obligated to be a spokeswoman about this sort of mindless animal cruelty.  Therefore, I reversed course and marched back to that tree planter, if only to show my compassion for …

A glove with a soggy, furry cuff that a considerate soul in a random act of kindness placed here.

Maybe there is a shred of hope for the human race after all.  It might also behoove me to get my eyes examined.

Lame Adventure 247: Sleeping or Dying?

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.

Not looking good.

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.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz or death rattle?

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.

Resurrected and refreshed!

It flies away.  I am elated.  I focus on proofreading for the remainder of the day but craving squab.  I suffer fresh guilt.

Lame Adventure 212: Life Imitates Tee Shirt

One of my remaining affordable guilty pleasures since I have zero fashion sense combined with a tight budget is tee shirts with captions from my favorite New Yorker cartoons.  I like these tee shirts even more when The New Yorker emails me a twenty percent off discount code.  They provide the perfect compliment to Jack Purcell badminton shoes.

Pictured below is an actual New York City pigeon that I encountered as it was pecking at half a toasted bagel on West Broadway on a sweltering afternoon.  I thought:

Me:  How fortuitous!  I just ordered this tee shirt!

Where's the schmear?

To anyone as skeptical as me, no, I did not toss half a toasted bagel into West Broadway to get this shot.  It was fate.

Fashion statement.

Cartoon caption closeup.

The cartoon is by veteran New Yorker staff cartoonist, Roz Chast, and the tee shirt is available online at The New Yorker Store in sizes suitable for the entire family.  It is also available as a unisex hoodie, a mug, note cards, art prints (framed or not) and the original drawing is also for sale at an undisclosed price that starts at $1,900.  One could conceivably dedicate two months salary to this cartoon alone, if one suffered a massive head injury.  I’m content with just the tee shirt.

Lame Adventure 198: Same Old Me

One of the advantages of working a day job that is slightly less captivating than the study of the shape of gum stains on the sidewalk is that it gives one countless hours of opportunity to think, especially while doing mundane tasks such as removing 1,778 images from 889 sheet protectors.

889 sheet protectors at last count.

For example, one can think about wanting to take a nap, lunch, sex, what’s the name of that song playing on the radio, is that smell Windex or a terrible cologne, sex, my foot itches, I must remember to pick up mustard, sex, pigeons have it so easy, what’s the lifespan of a pigeon, sex, is this pain in my chest a heart attack or indigestion, am I going to drop dead here at my desk with my foot itching, sex, is it going to rain today, did I bring my umbrella?

My colleagues, in particular my sidekick, Greg, are also adept at voicing random thoughts aloud.  Recently, Greg pondered the question of how long does it take for us to completely replace every cell in our bodies.  He was unsure if it was seven or ten years.  One of the things I was sure of is that my most recent batches of cells whether they are seven or ten years old are not quite as robust as earlier versions.  Once home, while guzzling a bottle of Magic Hat Wacko beer to lubricate my thought process —

Wacko beer endorsed by Lame Adventures.

I went online and Google searched, “How long does it take to renew every cell in the human body?”

According to Ask a Naturalist.com:

“Recent research has confirmed that different tissues in the body replace cells at different rates, and some tissues never replace cells. So the statement that we replace every cell in the body every seven years or every ten years is wrong.”

Apparently, the number of brain cells you enter the world with are all you get.  When they die and they will, that’s it, you regress into an even bigger dolt.  They’re not replaced and their loss probably helps explain why I keep blanking on getting mustard, even though I recently looked directly at the mustard shelf while in the store, but then went to the meat department and picked up a steak, something I had not intended to purchase.  What is even more annoying is returning home, then recalling I still need mustard, going back to the store and momentarily suffering a brain freeze about why I have made this second trip.  Fortunately, the voice inside my head screamed:

Voice Inside My Head (screaming):  You need mustard you moron!

Ask a Naturalist.com also claims that fat cells are replaced at a rate of 10% per year in adults.  I find this rather ironic since those are the cells I most wish would go away and never return.  They also seem to be the ones that are quickest to multiply, especially in the vicinity of the abdomen and hips while parked at one’s desk pulling hundreds of images out of sheet protectors as the mind wanders.

Heart cells are also replaced at a reduced rate as a person ages, so basically over time, we go completely downhill, but there are always people out there that probably should be dead, but continue to carry on quite nicely like one of my favorite musicians, Keith Richards.  That I find encouraging.  Pigeons on the other hand live on average 3-5 years in the wild, but up to 35 years in captivity.  Maybe they don’t have it that easy after all.

New York City pigeon in Bryant Park in July 2010, possibly already a goner in June 2011.

Lame Adventure 80: For the Birds

In my next life, I want to be a bird, specifically a New York City based pigeon.  Some might scoff, “Why in the world would you want to come back as a rat with wings?”  Please note that “rat with wings” is a name for our feathered nemeses Woody Allen coined in 1980 in Stardust Memories when perchance, actually per script, a pigeon flew into his apartment via an open window.  Just another typical bit of forgotten WA-style urban neurosis, but that phrase has deservedly entered the lexicon.

I want to return as a pigeon in the Big Apple because there’s always plenty to eat lying around, there are millions of other birds so I’ll never be without a date, I can roost rent-free in the toniest neighborhoods, flying beats riding public transportation, and best of all, I can crap wherever and whenever I want, including on annoying New Yorkers like the short, fleshy young woman in her early to mid twenties that I noticed on my way home from work Monday evening as I walked up Broadway in the West 70s.

"Hurry up, take your picture. It's been almost a minute since I last ate. Hey! Do you have a pretzel on you? I'm in the mood for one."

The street was crowded with rush hour pedestrian traffic, as well as vendors selling their wares lining one side and the jazz musician I see every weeknight playing his saxophone on the other.  A tall, slender bun-head, fresh from ballet class, wearing iPod headphones, who was about the same age as the short squat woman – a woman that bore a distinct resemblance to the fruit of an illicit romance between a fire hydrant and a table leg, brushed against each other.  Fireworks exploded.

Short Squat One:  You bumped into my bag!  Don’t you know how to say ‘excuse me’?

Bun-head (removing headphones):  Huh?  What?

Short Squat One:  You’re so retarded!  Forget it!

Short Squat One furiously stomps on as Bun-head stands bewildered asking, “What’s her problem?” If I were Lame Adventures Pigeon, I would have dive-bombed SSQ’s head with my Mickey D-bagel-pizza-Dunkin’ Donuts lunch.  Pigeons have the power.

A bit powerless here but ...

Flaunting power atop William Earl Dodge statue in Bryant Park!