Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Birds

[A light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek story. Written on my mobile phone.]

This morning, after buying a coffee and coconut bun from a local bakery for breakfast, I made my way across the parking lot towards the bus stop.

Suddenly, I noticed that I was being followed. Overhead, a flock of seagulls shadowed me. I stopped, and as many landed around me--in front, behind, on every side--I counted them. There were about 100.

I thought it might be coincidental so I 'tested' the birds a couple more times. Most unsettlingly, they kept following. Flapping, conspiring, eyeing my bun, emboldening each other, staring - getting greedier and greedier. It was reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock's infamous black-and-white film "The Birds." If very lucky, I would get out Scot-free. At worst, I would be pecked to death. Not unlikely, I would be the target for at least one of the foul bird's droppings (which I could see and hear splattering around me on the pavement) or have my hard-earned breakfast--maybe even the coffee--torn, ripped, pecked from my grasp. Hopefully I could escape without too many wounds.

In light of my circumstances, I knew what I had to do.

I ran.

They kept following, but I eventually lost them. "Gee Mahnay," I said to an elderly lady walking carefully and slowly along the sidewalk. "Those seagulls are following me!" She laughed. "It's that bun."

Armed with this insight, I concealed the bun under my shirt and tucked in my undershirt beneath it to keep it there hands-free. It was a James-Bond-like moment. As for the coffee, I figured I could risk its being exposed.

Then, I turned on my heel and faced the birds. Some now just a few feet away, they stared back. It was a face-off.

I began, carefully but courageously, to walk once again towards the bus stop. It meant going through the crowd of birds. Was I safe? Would they be so easily fooled? How are sea gulls' short-term memories? Would they remember that I had not at any point discarded or eaten the bun, and deduce that it must still be on me? Was I at risk?

I kept walking, the seagulls still eyeing me. They shifted to face me as I walked through them. If seagulls had shoulders, theirs would have been square on me. You could slice the tension with a knife. I was a long way from a hospital, in the thick of the birds, and still a ways from my destination.

Eventually, wonderfully, defiantly, victoriously, I made it past the birds, darted across the road (looking both ways of course) and made it not just to the bus stop but, fortuitously, a waiting bus; at a red light. Just in time.

"I just got attacked by 100 seagulls," I said to the driver, proceeding to embellish the story with details of the ordeal. It then occurred to me how incredulous I must have sounded. After all, crazy people love bus travel and this man had no doubt encountered hundreds.

Then, from my vantage point just inside the door, I noticed that the bus was full. And quiet. No one was smiling, and many eyes looked, nervously, in my direction. They, too, had heard my story. They, too, had encountered bus crazies.

Every seat was taken, so I made my way, awkwardly, towards the center of the bus.

I felt alone, and surrounded--as I had amidst that crowd of bloodthirsty seagulls.

"At least I'm alive," I thought, as I sipped my coffee.

ar TORONTO, CANADA | 2023+



27 Sat (1) 11am Commencement speaker at R. University, (2) ~3pm+ time w/ V/AR+
29 Mon (1) 9:30am VT prayer, (2) 3pm mtg DerCh - Mississauga
30 Tue (1) 10am ph call (AA), (2) 5:30pm video mtg (IsTan), (3) 8pm neighbourhood prayer mtg

1 Thu (1) 11:30am Zoom mtg (LM), (2) 4pm mtg (VS,KBr)
2 Fri (1) 10:30am ph call (PVDW; SL w/ boys; ~J working)
3 Sat SL w/ boys and MG
5 Mon (1) 9:30am VT prayer mtg, (2) 2pm Europe call, (3) 5pm mtg/walk (YM)
6 Tue (1) 11:30am lunch (GD) - St. Jacobs, (2) 4pm mtg (AF) - Cambridge, (3) 7:30pm worship night
9 Fri ~J's b'day
10 Sat North Bay trip
13 Tue 11am mtg (DAy) (~J school trip w/ ~Co | text BD)
14 Wed 9:30am time w/ BD
15 Thu 4:30pm video mtg (Paul T.)
16 Fri (1) 9am video med appt, (2) 15-km run (Prayer Journey "warm-up")
17 Sat Prayer Journey (my own: 50km GTA bike-ride; Jessie's: 5KM) and speaking at GTA after-party
23-25 Fri-Sat poss. SL
26 Mon 2pm Europe monthly call
29 ... July 7 Thu-Fri poss. holiday in Arkansas

... 7 Thu-Fri poss. holiday in Arkansas
~8-17 SA+ in Toronto; P/H Bell likely visiting too
15 Sat aft+ baptism (Saj; NaB may be coming)
17-21 Mon-Fri Kids Kapers camp
24 Mon 2:45pm med. appt
26 Wed (1) 11am video mtg (SM), (2) 3pm Zoom mtg (SMa,SB), (3) 7pm ~J speaking at Greenhouse/Zoe - UofT downtown
27 Thu 10am video MVT board mtg
31 Mon 3:05pm med. appt
July/Aug CCWM board mtg / AGM

2 Wed 11am video mtg (SM+)
6-12 Sun-Fri Cottage w/ O/DN+ and UB/AC - Windermere; plus Muskoka
19 Sat poss. ~J fam beach day - Brighton area
25-29 Fri-Tue MoveIn staff retreat - southern Ontario

Sep 21 Thu - MVT board mtg
Sep 23 Sat poss. date of GV memorial
Sep 24 Sun ~Ch's b'day
Sep ~26-28 Poss. time in Lushnjë, Albania
Sep 29 - Oct 6 MoveIn Europe Conference+ - Durrës, Albania
Oct 21 Sat poss./unlikely date of GV memorial
Oct 21-27 Dollar-a-Day week
Early Nov Poss. fundraising event - Niagara
Nov-Jan Poss. time in India - Goa; Philippines - Manila+; Indonesia - Jakarta/Bali; LA/San Diego