Angry Birds: A Real-World Encounter
// August 20th, 2012 // Main
Those who know me and follow my silliness on facebook know that I have recently endeavored to get my fat ass in shape. I don’t have any delusions of running marathons or swimming from the bay to Hawaii or any such ignorance. I don’t want to die. I simply want my breath back. I want my internal image to be, well, relatively close to reality. I need to be able to close my eyes and pretend I’m a rock star. I cannot afford to let the fantasy die. It’s all I have most days.
And so, on July 3, 2012 I began doing something to make my doctor – the one I will eventually have to see – proud of me. Living and working in San Francisco – our office is beneath Levis Plaza – I have everything I need to get started. I have stairs to climb. Right outside the office there are nearly 400 of them going straight up a cliff. This is where I started. The goal: Make it to the top. Simple. In a month’s worth of climbs I have gone from one stop to zero. I have gone from climbing the stairs to climbing the stairs plus walking a few blocks to waking several blocks to no longer being afraid of the many crazy-steep hills. So my lunch break is now 1 hour and 6 minutes longs. It involves the stairs and a brisk walk that totals 3.6 to 3.7 miles depending on the accuracy of the software that tracks me. I’m all technical like that yo…
A few weeks ago I added what I will forevermore refer to as the “Hill From Hell” to my daily routine. This hill is Union street, down from Coit Tower to Washington Square in North Beach, then up four blocks to Hyde Street. It’s the “up four blocks” part that makes the whole thing evil. As I have said before, the first thing I shall do with my lottery winnings in to buy that stupid hill. The second thing I shall do is flatten it. Oh glorious day! Suffice it to say it’s a tough climb that’s getting progressively easier. Well, more like less difficult.
The “Hill From Hell” is separated into 4 blocks, each getting more steep until I reach Hyde street at the top. It’s a real slow grind, one foot in front of the other, lean in to each step, NO, remember posture, kinda slow grind. It’s hard enough when things go well. Today they did no go well. Today, on my way up, halfway through block three, I was attacked. A thief? A homeless person? An angry progressive? No. It was none of these. It was…
The Pigeon From Hell. After all, this pigeon lives on or surely near the Hill From Hell. It’s a good name. It went like this:
I’m walking, digging my way slowly up toward Hyde street when, out of the corner of my eye I see it coming. I had little time to react and so I’m quite proud to be alive. As I looked up and to the right I saw it coming straight for me. It lunged, steepening its trajectory. As I turned in panic I saw it’s evil little bloodshot eyes. We were essentially face to beak. I ducked and raised my hands simultaneously as if performing some strange yoga pose right there on the street. The damn thing missed me by mere inches.
In the split second that followed I was able to, reasonably I thought, figure it was an accident, until the little bastard came at me from the other side. Again it was close enough for me to see directly into it’s beady little hellish red eyes. I flailed again helplessly as it swooped down, diving directly for my skull. Another near miss. Well now I figure for sure the son of a bitch it trying to kill me. For real. With no other recourse I began to run – okay jog – okay walk more quickly – up the hill from hell, and dammit it dove at me a third time. This time it came from behind with clearly nothing but death, for one or the other of us, on its diseased little mind. It missed me, but only narrowly, and by now I’ve reached the end of the third block on hell hill. Foster street. There are steps here which will quicken my descent. Or I can continue up to Hyde, but that seems risky considering the grade is steeper still, and I’m being harassed by a diseased-ridden true-to-life angry bird who clearly thinks it’s him or me.
My breath is coming quick. Imagine an out of shape fat bastard trudging up some stupid hill with a real-world angry bird hot on his tail. Sweat dripping. Chest pounding. Heart racing. Panic in my eyes. Nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. Up or down, there’s no way I can move faster than death with wings can fly. I decided I would simply have to stand my ground. I looked around for a weapon. Nothing. San Francisco street sweepers clearly do an excellent job. Exhausted, both physically and mentally, and with a real fear for my life it occurred to me. I have a pocket knife. I found it in my Dad’s tackle box after he died and I carry it with me every day (except at Airports and Six Flags). Quickly I reached into my left pocket, retrieved the knife, extended the largest blade, and positioned myself for the next attack.
It never came. I never saw the crazed pigeon again. And I was careful to stand still, searching in every direction with my knife poised and ready. I was fully prepared to cut the little bastard. I suppose it was a draw? I will never know how it came to be so hacked off at me. I wasn’t carrying food. If pigeons are territorial I had no idea, and for that matter I walk that same route every day – have been for weeks now. Now I’ve heard that bees can remember a person’s face. Perhaps pigeons can too. Maybe this one has seen me before and just didn’t like the way I look. I will never know.
But I can tell you this. I will not be intimidated on my path to health by some rogue pissed off pigeon, nor shall I be afraid of any of his amigos should he decide to call for reinforcements for a follow up attack tomorrow. No. I shall persevere. Of course I’ll make damn sure I have my knife on the ready going up the hill from hell tomorrow. Don’t laugh. I got kids to feed!