Friday, June 9, 2006

Kitties, Birdies, and Other Things I Hate

So, I’ve been gone a long time, but I have a really good reason.

I’ve been watching The West Wing starting with Season One. Also Laguna Beach. I like to alternate the two so that I get a good balance of culture and politics. I’ve also been taking exercise classes with my Mom, trying out some new nail polishes, and avoiding packing for my upcoming move.

Oh, and I also planned a benefit reception for the new film I’m working on which totally kicked ass. I know you missed me, but, you know, I’m a busy girl. Watching a Laguna Beach marathon is a serious commitment.

A lot of good things have happened to me over the past two weeks, but keeping with tradition I’ll get straight to the part where I complain.

Let’s see ... shall I begin with the cab driver who ran over my foot or the two dead birds that fell on me during lunch today? I’ve decided not to rant about the United States Postal Service, who are holding my mail (and TWO unemployment checks) in the limbo that is mail forwarding, even though I specified that my mail not be forwarded until June 30, because they are RETARDS ... but I digress. I will also make peace with the stress-induced tongue sore that developed just in time for a public speaking engagement, which forced me to numb my entire mouth with ointment so that I sounded like I’d thrown back a couple of martinis with some vicodin prior to taking the stage. No, instead I’m going to direct my ire at defenseless (or dead) animals and a hapless cabbie.

The aforementioned cab driver and I met on an unfortunate day that began with me picking up a kitten for my mother at 9:45 am on a Sunday. The kitten - Dinah - was freaking out as I dragged her down 26th Street. I reached the corner, hailed a cab, and told the driver I was going to Brooklyn. He looked at me blankly.

“This is my first day,” he said. “You direct me?”

I said OK, and pointed him toward the Brooklyn Bridge. I never thought I’d say this, but I wish I had been able to back seat-accelerate, because brother was driving like an eighty year-old in a school parking lot. I’ve never seen a taxi go so slow. We didn’t even block the box or sideswipe pedestrians. It was like an alternate universe.

Now, I felt sorry for the first-time driver, so I was very patient, which was a considerable feat for someone trapped in a small space with a spastic kitten. I was patient when the FDR entrance was closed and we wasted ten minutes circling alphabet city. I was patient when construction work on the bridge slowed traffic to a halt. I was patient when the cabbie drove so slowly that we hit every red light, every time. He pulled up to my mom’s house and I paid him, tipping generously. I stepped out of the car, pulled the cat out, and realized that the cab had not stopped. Motherfucker proceeded to roll over my foot. IT HURT! I yelped in pain, but the nervous cabbie was already rolling down the street at a steady 5 mph.

The moral of this story is, don’t be nice to people on their first day on the job, because they could maim you.

Lesson number two for today is: always sit under an umbrella.

My dad and I had lunch today at Pete’s Tavern in Manhattan, on 18th and Irving. It’s one of the oldest establishments in the city, boasting famous clientele like O. Henry, who wrote “Gift of the Magi” there. It’s a nice little tavern that serves burgers and seafood and beer on tap. It was a beautiful sunny day, so Dad and I decided to sit outside. We had been sitting for twenty minutes or so when a small object fell, hard, right next to our table. It looked like it could have been a glob of bird shit, or a small ball.

“What was that?” I asked.

“What was what?” -- Dad hadn’t seen it.

“Something fell,” I said. “Over there.”

Dad looked and instantly recoiled. A waiter came over.

“What ... is that?” Dad asked. He and the waiter were both looking at the ground.

“It’s a bird.” said the waiter.

Dad turned to me. “It’s a dead baby pigeon.” he said.

“Um ... I’ll sweep it up.” said the waiter.

Dad and I looked up at the sky above our heads.

“It must have fallen from the roof,” Dad said.

“Ew.” I said.

“I hope there aren’t any others.” Dad said.

We continued our meal.

About fifteen minutes later, I felt something ricochet off my shoulder and land on the ground behind me with a thud.

“What the hell was that?” I asked.

Dad looked over at the ground behind me. “It’s another one.” he said.

I leapt up and stood a few feet away from the table. I hailed a busboy.

“Hi,” I said. “Two birds have fallen on us. Dead birds.”

The busboy looked up, then looked back at me questioningly. The hostess, an older woman who looked like she had wandered out of Bergdorf’s by accident, was called. She seemed very upset that the bird was nearly dead. I had, it seemed, not treated the matter of the bird’s untimely death with the gravity that it deserved.

“Um, can we move to another table?” I repeated. The hostess instructed the busboy to put the bird out of its misery, and went off to console herself.

What followed was a comically long time in which none of the wait staff seemed to worry about the customers being pelted with dead fowl. There was a discussion of unfurling a canopy, which was quickly vetoed by the hostess because it would block the sun.

“It would also block the dead birds from falling on my veggie burger.” I added helpfully. They seemed unmoved.

Finally Dad and I moved ourselves to another table, where we immediately squished ourselves up against the wall and picked joylessly at our food.

Nothing like dead pigeons to whet the appetite. As if New Yorkers weren’t jumpy enough.

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