ruffled feathers

Ashley and I did a bit of shopping this afternoon and then stopped at the delicious Penn Station for some lunch. We grabbed a table near the door and, as we were eating, a couple of ducks approached.

The female kept fussing with her feathers and looked as though perhaps she didn’t feel well. At the same time, the male seemed somewhat protective of her. A little girl at the table next to us pretty much forgot all about her lunch and snapped picture after picture on her little pink cell phone. As people came and went I tossed a few fries out. The female devoured them.

Of the people who came and went most of them either tossed food towards the ducks or otherwise smiled at them. I kept expecting some young kid would run along and in her excitement chase them off, but it never happened.

When we were done eating I got up and walked to the counter for a refill of their delicious lemonade. As I was walking back to our table, a quartet of teenagers was walking out the door. I didn’t see what happened at first, but I saw the ducks scatter quickly away.

That’s when I saw the empty soda cup on the ground where the birds had been. That’s when I saw that the boys were laughing.

And that’s when I started yelling.

It was a bit funny the way they turned from men laughing at startled animals to little boys themselves scared stiff. I sort of felt bad about causing scene, but what the hell is wrong with people? I don’t understand this impulse, to try to harm an animal that’s done exactly zero to you. And furthermore everyone in the restaurant had been sort of humored by watching the ducks. So not only had the ducks done nothing at all, but they’d actually been making people happier in their lives.

And these jackasses had to just ruin it, just had to scare the birds for their own entertainment. Scared teenagers though they were, I was ready to do them serious harm in the ducks’ behalf. Which is itself ridiculous, yes. But that’s how stupid I found their behavior. That’s how much their unconcern upset me.

I was marginally mollified to see the some of the soda had landed on one of the boy’s cars. This kid looked back at me and pointed at the soda as if to say “See? See what a jerk that dude is?” As though I cared at all about the damn car. I hope the soda ruins his paint job.


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