Saturday, August 12, 2006

Pidgeons love Pistachios

My father and I finally left the rural utopia of Cinque Terre for the more cosmopolitan city of Florence. Unfortunately, we discovered that only 1 train a day goes directly from Cinque Terre to Florence. We made two unfortunate discoveries that day when we learned our connecting train would be delayed 45 minutes, turning a 15 minute layover into an hourlong ordeal.
So we sat around in this train station eating pistachios and talking about whatever, when this woman comes up and starts feeding the pidgeons little bits of her cracker. She was obviously not familiar with pidgeons, because as soon as she started feeding the two chubby little head bobbers, their entire extended families decided to join the feast. Before long, over 30 to 50 pidgeons joined the feast.
It was a hot day, and I was using my dad's towel to wipe sweat off my face as I was munching on the pistachios and beef jerky my dad brought from the USA. Soon however, as the army of pidgeons had devoured what little crumbs the woman had blessed them with, they began attacking the bag of pistachios at our feet. Much to our disgust, they certainly weren't shy about helping themselves to our meager lunch.
I tried kicking at a few of them and my Dad grabbed the towel on my lap and began flapping and waving it. He went a little crazy as one of the pidgeons, in an apparent effort to escape the fluttering of the colorful towel, wound up flying in his face! He jerked and threw the towel in the direction that the pidgeon had flown in retreat, screaming something in French at the little disease mongers.
Screaming myself, I started stomping around trying to get any of the little boogers I could. Most of them flew or ran just out of my reach, but I looked and saw my Dad's heavy beach towel with something fluttering and struggling beneath. Without thinking, I quickly ran over and began stomping on the heavy towel, crushing the filthy avian thief beneath. Within a half second I had wounded it enough to keep it from moving, In the other half second, I had crushed it.
People looked at us two Americans with very wide eyes and mouths.
So it wasn't the best day in Italy. The train was late, most of the day spent in transit. The pidgeons had stolen or defiled most of our pistachios. And to top it all off, my dad's brand new beach towel he bought in Cinque Terre had to be thrown away in a train station somewhere in Central Tuscany. We had to buy more snacks for lunch.


scholler said...

If you guys aren't careful, the international branch of the ASPCA is liable to hear of your anti-animal actions and pursue you to the fullest extent of the law... But keep the stories coming. (Your sister was a little less shocked by this one.)

The Pittmeister said...

Pidgeons are the "rats of the bird world". Good for you for getting rid of at least of these pests. I have always wanted to stop the guts out of one myself. Now I know how; trap in in a towel.

azk8 said...

Is it any wonder Craig gets along so well with you Beal guys??

I can just see him joining in your pigeon dance! That is a great story!


azk8 said...

I am concurrently horrified and amused. True terror - true humor. Why can't we all just get along? Is it too much to ask to live in harmony with nature? Evidently, yes.