One such wise and/or bored and/or senile individual had scattered birdseed across a nearby street the other day and the Pigeon Brigade was out in full force. As I watched them go to town while waiting for my dog to do her thing, a car approached the street-spanning flock, rolling to a stop a few feet in front of the birds. He sat there for a few seconds, then lays on the horn—
The birds don’t flinch. My dog doesn’t flinch. I flinch.
“Hellooooooo?!” I yell, “did you just honk at birds?”
He looks at me and does the “What?” shrug thing, waits another second, then proceeds to plow through the sea of avian street diners. I thought for sure there would be casualties, expecting to see bird carcasses strewn across the street. Carnage en masse. But, no, they were fine.
My first thought was: Oh shit, pigeons don’t exist! My second thought was: Pigeons are invincible. My third thought was: Pigeons are pigeons. Pigeons don’t comprehend technology. Animals don’t comprehend technology. That deer doesn’t freeze in your headlights because he’s scared—he freezes because he’s confused.
Nowhere in nature does a multi-ton chunk of metal come rolling across a field. It’s not natural. If a herd of buffalo had come charging down Yucca Street, you can bet the pigeons—and me and the dog—would be getting the hell out of the way. Animals don’t invent stuff, so they don’t comprehend invented stuff. Most things that they do acknowledge are things that are manmade equivalents of natural objects, e.g. Doghouse=cave; Bird feeder=flower; Carpet=grass; Hamster wheel—well, okay, hamsters are either just really smart or really stupid.
What’s my point? Good question. First of all, honking at pigeons is stupid. Second, don’t metaphorically honk at pigeons:
Are you posting to Facebook or Twitter about how you’re having a bad day?—Honking at pigeons. Talking about the weather?—Honking at pigeons. Discussing politics?—Honking at pigeons.
Writing a blog post about honking at pigeons?—Honking at pigeons.