The one up front must think he's hot shit or something.
It offends me when people take advantage of courtesy to feel dominant – as if a small step to the side when walking past another human being is the outcome of a minor social skirmish instead of everyday politesse.
As frustrating as this may be, however, it barely holds a candle to the rudeness of the average inner city pigeon, on whom social niceties are utterly wasted. They’re boors to the very core. Their gait isn’t so much a forward strut as it is an aimless hybrid of crabwalking and drunken swagger, predictability thrown out of the window in favour of being constantly underfoot and (occasionally) all a-flap in one’s face when they believe a misstep threatens them.
This would be bad enough were it not for the complete lack of acknowledgement for the other party’s good social graces. And no, I would never be so idealistic as to expect an actual “thank you” or “sorry” from a Cape Town pigeon – no matter how far out of line they’re acting, or how patient I’ve been in dealing with them. But is it too much to hope for a nod, a knowing eye or some acknowledgement of my existence as they stumble about in their gin-soaked-birdseed haze? Has the co-habitation of human/bird existence been taken for granted to the extent where I could walk through Greenmarket Square daily and get not so much as a “coo!” when I pause to let one of these ungrateful wastrels slouch across my path?
I understand that my social graces leave something to be desired from time to time, but I take responsibility when I can. I also understand that, to a certain extent, I’m trespassing upon ground where these pigeons have set up their entire lives. I apologise when my inattentiveness causes a collision. I even refrain from pooping on them. But it feels like an empty, hollow venture when I cannot expect even the lowest degree of respect in turn, like slamming my fists on an iron-barred door of social indifference.
To hell with pigeons. I don’t know why I even bother.