Tag Archives: travel

My Best Day

12 Aug

I think it is possible that today was one of the best days of my whole life. I made a roundabout trip from Providence to New York City with the cast of a show I am in. We are performing at Fringe Festival NYC starting this Saturday and today was our dress rehearsal in the theatre we were assigned to. The entire trip was daunting from the start; coordinating 16 people to be at a specific location on the Lower East Side by 2:30pm and then getting 14 of them back home again the same day was a logistical nightmare.

The very talented Hannah

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Hannah!

mapped out a whole chart for the next two weeks showing who was coming and going what days, who was staying in the city and where, who was carpooling, what methods we were using to get into the city and it was insane. Today was the one day that most of the group was traveling together both ways and it could have been a clashing of personalities and moods, but it just wasn’t. Instead I found myself stopping every few minutes and looking at the people around me, the sights on the journey and really absorbing every moment knowing that I was so fortunate to be there. I was lucky to be included in this group of talented actors

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The star of the show for me, Tammy

who I believe will light up Fringe NYC and I am grateful to be active in a hobby that takes me on so many adventures.

The past few days I have been in a bad headspace and I was dealing with it just fine but I was noticeably sad. I have been telling people about this festival for months now and only a handful of people shared in my level of excitement. Only one person had the reaction I had been longing for; the reaction my mother would have had if I had been able to call her with this news.

A mother is the person in the world who gets excited for their child’s accomplishments as though they are their own. I wanted to tell someone about this huge life event and hear that they were excited and proud. I don’t feel that I needed to hear this to be excited or proud myself, but rather, I was already feeling those things and it was lonely to be experiencing that alone. Like finishing a marathon only to find there is nobody cheering at the end. You cross that red tape and cheer and realize you are just a sweaty idiot alone in the middle of the street 26 miles away from where you parked your car.

Then there is Lisa. My best friend who told me over and over how proud she was and how impressive she thought it all seemed. Then she told me she had bought a ticket for one of the shows and said, “Seeing you perform in this festival is important to me.” It was said in a text message but it stopped me where I stood. It was the exact thing I had needed to hear to feel like I wasn’t alone. Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of people in my life who have expressed excitement and enthusiasm about this opportunity, but this was the only thing that made me feel like it mattered to her as much as it mattered to me. I should mention that Lisa lives over an hour further away from NYC and has a husband, two small children and a full time job, but she is coming because she wants to be there. That’s a powerful sentiment that doesn’t always get noticed, but I felt this fully and it was everything.

Today was just the dress rehearsal. I wanted to write this at one o’clock in the morning after a 16 hour day because I didn’t want to lose or forget a moment of it. I want to move into the next few days with the knowledge that this won’t last very long, but I know it is something I will remember forever. This isn’t about becoming famous or making it big in acting or getting my name out there. If five people sit in the audience each night I won’t care. This is about a play I loved the first time we performed it, with a cast

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Kerry makes the whole group prettier

I believe to be exceptional and a director so wildly talented I fear I may never fully keep up. We are going to be in a festival many entered to be a part of and few in comparison were chosen. I want to see other shows and meet lots of other actors just as excited to be able to stand on a stage in New York City. I want to say that the stage I stood on meant something to me and that is enough.

Our number One and Director, Kevin

Mostly I want to remember the key moments from today, the first day before the real ride began:

  • Carpooling with three people who make road trips in movies look dull by comparison. We actually spent two hours driving home at midnight doing sing-a-longs at full volume to Madonna, Queen,
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    Puppi was upset that he wasn’t tagged on Instagram

    Led Zeppelin, Abba and Hall and Oates.

  • Laughing in heat so unbearable it was hard to find air to breathe but we kept on joking.
  • Squeezing 15 actors into one unisex dressing room while boys changed into speedos and nobody seeming uncomfortable or awkward; feeling like a big family.
  • Creating a count off system while walking through the city to make sure we didn’t lose anyone and realizing that we were shouting numbers like assholes in the middle of Grand Central Station (also learning that the concept of counting and numbers isn’t so easy for everyone)
    • Me: Let’s count off.
    • Kevin: One
    • Hannah: Can I be six?
    • Me: You are literally two.
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      Rico got to be number seven

      Rico: Oh! I want to be seven!

    • Me: That’s not how counting works.
    • Kevin: You’re realizing now you may not want to have kids, huh Sam?
  • Learning that your friends are even more fun and are filled with more patience and kindness than you knew before.
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    Justin & Foldie in the Main Concourse of Grand Central

    One actor carrying a metal folding chair in 100 degree weather through NYC to have it as his prop. Watching him open and use said chair in the middle of Grand Central as well as the middle of our subway car. Then arriving at the theatre only to find at least half a dozen identical folding chairs already at the venue. Then naming the chair “foldie” to give it importance so we wouldn’t feel silly for having lugged it in two cars, a train, a subway and a mile walk.

  • Walking into a beautiful theatre with a stage twice the size of the one we rehearsed on and realizing that we get to play in that space.
  • Arriving home exhausted and barely walking with a huge smile on my face feeling inspired.
  • Knowing that although the whole thing will fly by, right now it’s all still ahead of me and I’m lucky enough to have noticed the moment before it was gone.
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Just One Mile

2 Aug

I returned home from an incredible trip to Europe and found that I had brought back a new woman. I felt confident, happy, capable and ready to take hold of my life. I was cast a major role in a play and a short film, my coworkers made me feel right back at home in a place I love to work, I reconnected deeply with friends and family at a beautiful service for my ever deserving grandmother. I took hold of my love life by cleaning house of all selfish, negative mooches and felt excited to be alone. Things were great, I was unstoppable.

The clue in to this flow of constant wins not lasting must be that I’m using the past tense to describe it all. The truth is, it was real, I am changed, I am happy; yet no trip or event or play could hide the gaping hole I have without my mother. It’s the broken record of my writing, “my mother died”, “time doesn’t heal”, “I need her”.

I talk about it less and less with a majority of people because I don’t want it to be the thing that defines me outwardly even though it is still the thing that defines me inwardly.

This unchanging and constant ache functions as both a motivation and an obstacle, it just depends on the day.

I started to fluctuate heavily between productive days and motionless days. I call it a motionless day because I lay still for entire days sometimes. I get up to find food or shower and my body feels immobilized and heavy. My head swims, I consider fighting it and going outside but I can’t on these days and I just lay back down and go to sleep. On the good days I explore my talents through acting, comedy, auditions for new roles, sewing classes a countless sea of friends I get to call my family, dates with one of the kindest men I’ve ever met and an intensely active social life. I am a force.

I’m not one to get caught in a cycle so manic or unreasonable. I overthink everything and in this case it stopped me in my tracks to look from the outside at how dramatic the daily shifts were.

The answer, it turns out, is small for now. Find the balance each day, on high days, find moments to to grieve, cry and feel. Listening to music in the car, calling Lisa or hugging the cat a little too long are all good options. On the low days, find just one thing to do that makes me feel proud. Not productive, not happy, it’s more than that, it’s about pride.

Today I woke up and thought about a presentation my friend Cait gave this past week about running. I could see and feel her pride and I remembered how much I used to feel that when I ran. So at 7:00 am, instead of going back to sleep for two hours before my day had to start I lept out of bed, threw on my gym clothes and said out loud, “I will run one mile. I will not stop.” It’s amazing how much can happen in a mile.

The first few blocks I felt incredible. The weather was sunny, dry with a slight breeze; summer had never created a morning so perfect.

When I got to about a 1/4 mile my lungs felt like they were being lit on fire, suddenly the sun was no longer my friend, he was the asshole in the sky turning my face into hot lava. I thought to myself, “I can run part of the mile and then walk the rest, I will still be active and I will still be proud” I made the executive decision that I was allowed to stop at any time I needed to because it was very clear I wasn’t going to make it a whole mile. I saw a funeral home and knew that I just had to make the one last block to get there and then my run could die. It was the appropriate place. Then I saw a sign a block past the funeral home (a “one way” sign to be exact) and I can’t explain it, but I knew could run just to that sign and then I was allowed to stop. I heard my mother telling me years ago that on her runs she used to do the same thing, “commit to one small block at a time and tell yourself you can stop whenever you want. Just to that big tree, then just to that cafe then just to that street sign and then before I knew what happened I had run all the way home.” I actually remember where I was sitting when she said that to me.

I was recommitted. I could make it to at least a 1/2 mile. Then as I ran past the liquor store an old homeless man was outside, I recognized him because he is often at that location and so I smile as I chugged by, gasping for air but still running. He looked at me, smiled back and then began to clap. He was actually applauding me. I leave room for the possibility that he was patronizing me, but it didn’t feel that way. It felt like the exact boost I needed and the universe and that man were giving it to me. I never lose sight of the fact that I have always been lucky in that way, or at least always willing to see things in life through that lens.

When I reached a 1/2 mile I knew I was going to do the whole thing. I still wanted to stop and things were starting to hurt more, but I knew it was a cop out to not make it. I woke up and thought “just one mile” so I couldn’t let myself down. I was determined to make this mean something; to make this the first mile of many more to come. I was changing the pattern of my life and nothing that big ever comes easily.

I needed to focus my attention on anything but the fact that I was still running. I saw fresh West End dog poop covered in flies and thought a few moments about how nice it was that they were so happy. Nature really does have a way of giving gifts in unexpected ways.

Then I felt a surge of nausea and instead of worrying I decided I would just barf if need be and then keep on running. I never did puke, but the pain in my stomach from poor life choices last night intensified. I said out loud, “physical pain is no more impossible to handle than any other pain, and you are the most capable girl I have ever known at handling pain. You know pain, you embrace pain and then you push through it and beat pain.” The diners outside the breakfast place must have seen a crazy, red, sweaty, crazy person talking to themselves and clawing for air. In my mind I decided to pretend like I looked like my running friend Cait, adorable and effortless. Imagination is a beautiful thing; all that mattered was how I saw myself.

I rounded the corner of my street knowing that my runkeeper would announce that I’d reached a mile at any moment. It happened under a beautiful shady tree just next door to home and the moment I heard it in my headphones I doubled over and burst into tears. I had given myself the opportunity to just let it out. I was sad, I was happy, but mostly I was proud.

I had traveled thousands of miles to start my new adventure and discovered almost as much within one half mile radius of my home. I see the value in both now.

In her presentation, Cait had mentioned that she took a photo on each of her runs while training for a marathon, and in the moment I was pondering this during my cooldown walk I saw it. The marquee at the theatre across the street from my apartment was my last sign. So here it is, the photo from my first of many more runs. It was only one mile today, but it was the first and it was the hardest and it was the best.

Ireland Days 2-6 (Dublin)

13 Jun

Note: I wrote this while still in Dublin but have taken a week or so to edit and polish it, so this all actually took place May 24-28, 2015 in spite of when I’m posting it.

So much to catch up on! A lot has happened since my last post and I haven’t even had the time to slow down and just write. I’m still in Dublin, but I have seen and learned tons in just a short few days.   

Dublin the day I arrived

  Once I bussed into Dublin from Swords I trekked to my first Hostel and the experience was everything I could need to give me the best impression of hostel living. The place was an old renovated music studio geared towards musicians and artsy types with comfy beds, clean bathrooms and delightful staff. I was the only girl in a room full of foreign guys my first night. I didn’t make any new friends there as they mostly kept to themselves so I went out on my own around Central Dublin and the Temple Bar District. It was of course packed with tourists. Not feeling satisfied at the idea of drinking a pint with a bunch of Americans (I can do that at home anytime) I wandered the streets peering into countless pubs, hoping to sense a vibe that drew me in. Several British guys came pouring out of a bar at one point and seemed interested in my joining their group until they realized I wasn’t drunk and not up for getting into trouble; I safely avoided that little field trip but found out I was “a lovely American lass”.

Around midnight, feeling a little disappointed but mostly content with how much I had seen walking around, I was heading back to my hostel when an Irish band (here called a “trad”) in a pub was playing music so lively that I couldn’t walk away. I went into the place and found a crowd dancing heartily to a guitar, banjo and hand drums. I didn’t even need a drink, I was so happy to just dance alone and feed off the energy of the group. After an hour I was jumping around and laughing with several Irish girls when a British fellow approached me and offered me a beer. I was all too happy to accept and closed out the night with a few more dances and my lovely new group of British gentlemen walking me safely back to my accomodations. I got to know them a little on the walk, but let them down gently at the door as their drunken attempts at flirting were low on my list of activities. I was in too good a mood to spoil things with something as silly as drunk boys.

The next day I toured Trinity College and saw the Book of Kells and The Long Room, which in simple terms are a really old book and a really old library with more really old books. This description should not be taken as me selling the experience short, as I spent a long while sitting alone staring up at the ceiling of the Long Room just soaking in the beauty and history of it all. I find myself so like my mother at times, on the verge of tears whenever I see something historically important or architecturally beautiful. It is as though the magnitude of its importance threatens to break and overwhelm me. People rushing around me taking selfies and only winessing the Long Room through a camera lens eventually faded into the background as I allowed myself to meditate a little and appreciate how far I had traveled and how much it has already affected me.  

The Long Room at the old library of Trinity College

 I later found myself out with a handsome Irish gentleman who took me all about Dublin on what felt like a private historical mini tour. We talked about culture and politics and life and I had moments where I looked at myself from the outside and realized I was right in the midst of the exact moment I had pictured in an ideal dream. The man was charming, kind, brilliant and very attentive to my stories and opinions; a true gentleman and scholar with no pressure for anything but lovely company. I hardly recognized the scene or myself; all of it had me at what I feel is the pinnacle version of me. Nothing fake or put on, but a girl I have lost touch with in my day to day life of habit at home. I have been so wrapped up in grieving, or pretending not to grieve or working or trying to maintain my adult life that I had potentially lost touch with who I really want to be. It has nothing to do with the guy really, he was just kind enough to really see me as I am and I’m finding myself in new found joy. When I connect as that girl, I feel brilliant, fun, vibrant and kind; the woman I want to harness and be as much as possible.

Staying in the room at my second hostel for the next few nights (located in the heart of Temple Bar directly next door to the namesake) I met Patrick from the west coast of the States. He was planning to visit the Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Distillery so I siezed the opportunity to have a buddy for those trips.  I was already planning on going but I couldn’t have wished for someone better than Patrick to join.

Patrick and me on his 40th at the Guinness Storehouse

 I think for the historical stuff, I am finding I like the solitude and ability to sit and take it in at my leisure, but for drinking the company is perfect. It turns out that the day we went to Guinness, Patrick was celebrating his 40th birthday and I made it my personal goal to jam pack every minute with fun for him. We had a natural, nice back and forth as we both brought out each others goofy side. We laughed so much my core hurt by the end of the day in the best way possible. I told everyone we spoke to about Patrick’s big day and we ended up getting special treatment all throughout the Guinness facilities. With our special widowside table at the top of the giant pint glass we overlooked Dublin and the landscape beyond while I feasted on the best mussles I’ve ever tasted. Our waiter Antonio continually brought special reserve recipes of newer brews, not yet released outside the city and we ended up committing our entire day to that venture. We finished off his special day at a perfect Irish dive, Dice Bar, joined by what I would call a devistatingly tall and handsome local who asked not to be named. I would call the whole day a complete success.

The next day we kept the trend of combined travels going with an Irish breakfast and my first Irish coffee of the trip (but far from my last) at a pub that claims to be the oldest in Ireland. Then Patrick and I ended our time together after a tour of the Old Jameson Distillery. We were both about 3 Irish coffees and two Jamesons into the day so our parting was fittingly sentimental. It is rare to find a friend you are so comfortable with so quickly but I suspect we will be friends long past this trip. 

Taking any opportunity to ham it up.

 My last full day in Dublin was today and I have made the most of it. I visited the Kilmainham Gaol (their spelling of “jail”) and saw a lot of rocks and a lot more rocks where people were apparently executed.  Also, more rocks.

Important people were exectuted by these rocks. Long story.

 They love that sort of thing here, rocks and history. I’m beginning to have an appreciation for it myself, and I love how much I’m learning about their history, gruesome as most of it is. Next I rode the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus all over the city to see parks and monuments and hear a more detailed history of each. I visted the National Gallery, which boasted Picasso and Monet. I’m sad to say I think they shouldn’t advertise that because based on the two pieces in their collection they might have been the selections even the artists mothers felt “weren’t their strongest efforts”. Between that and the fact that only two rooms were open (one of which was Modern “art” color slabs on walls with titles like Raindew and Yellow Feelings; nothing makes me angrier except maybe Jackson Pollock) and I found the six or so remaining wings closed for renovations. I felt free entry was pushing it in terms of getting some culture for the cost. They should have paid me for time spent, or at least offered wifi so I could have googled “hamsters hugging other hamsters”. I looked it up now and it turned up some incredible stuff. 

Not quite hugging, but OH MY WORD!

Now that is a good hamster hug

  Now I am enjoying a Guinness in O’Dohrety’s Pub waiting for a handsome Dublin fellow to show me his local haunts. I’m hoping to find a place with all Irish folks and less tourists.  I’m optimistic about my final evening wandering this city with my guide. 

Looking worse for wear at O’Dohrety’s after a long day walking about.

  Tomorrow I head south to Cork where I hear the accents are a little different but charming as ever and the scenery is supposed to be breathtaking. More adventures to come.

Things I’ve learned:

  • Irish guys are total gentlemen almost to the point of being a bit passive. It’s lovely.
  • There are no fruits or vegetables in this country; they will tell you potatoes are vegetables and they are all you need.
  • Irish people don’t want to serve you water, they want to serve you pints, and I’m either dangerously dehydrated or adapting as a lizard would in drought.
  • If you think about it (and I have) Guinness contains water and hops, which are green plants; thus I deem Guinness to be “salad water”. Problems solved.
  • Guys take more time in hostel bathrooms than girls do. I mean a LOT more time; I assume they are choreographing Irish Step dances because I don’t want to think about other reasons why they are in there.
  • The statues in Dublin can be a little wild.  

    This is Molly Malone; she is a big deal.

     
  • “Cockles and Mussles” are what Molly is pushing in her cart in said statue. A British couple who saw me taking this picture simply said “cockles and mussles” to me and I asked them if that was how they referred to lady parts in the UK. It is not. That is what she is pushing in her cart.
  • Thankfully the British find me charming enough to laugh off my being an idiot. The jury is out on how the Irish feel, they either think I’m adorable or a lost cause.
  • Irish Breakfast every single day was my best idea ever and I would guess I’ve eaten all the pork products. 
  • Black pudding = awesome and anyone who told me I shouldn’t try it is no longer on my trusted “life advice list”. 

    John saw this on my Dublin map before I left so this is for him

     

Ireland Day 1 (Swords and Dublin)

24 May

I landed in the Dublin airport in the mid afternoon after 15 hours of travel. One car ride, two flights, a train ride, two busses and a zillion security checks and I made it with minimal trouble or stress. As it turns out I’m a very calm traveler and I have my wits about me so none of it felt very tough. I take back everything I said before about Air France, they are classy as f***. Large, plush seats, complimentary campagne, unlimited booze, two meals including items like quinoa salad, brie and coconut cake) personal TVs on the back of each seat with on demand movies, television and music. The selection included many new releases so I watched the newest Hobbit movie and pretended I was flying to The Shire. To be fair, if I could compare the parts of Ireland I’ve seen in my first 24 hours to anywhere, it would be Middle Earth. 

My second flight was a little shadier. It was a tiny plane straight out of a trip from 1980 but I got to get cozy with a tiny old French man, so that’s a life experince I can check off. France from the air is spectacular; it looks like a beautiful patchwork quilt dotted with quaint neighborhoods. I also got very excited at the realization that I speak fluent French (I can only say hello, thank you, welcome, good bye, have a nice trip, and enjoy the food but those were the only things I needed to say in my 4 hours in Paris so that’s fluent in my mind).

For my first night I had booked a room at a B&B in a town called Swords just north of Dublin. The proprietor there was passive aggresive and seemingly sweet because she had to be, but I felt undertones of annoyance so I delt with her minimally. She directd me to a local pub called The Old Schoolhouse half a mile away in downtown Swords. It was everything I had pictured in an Irish pub. I was immediately friends with Dominic, an older Irish gentleman who was generous about purchasing Guinesses but knows nothing about where to eat actual food.  It seems like food in general isn’t often considered here, I went my first night with no dinner, but a beelly full of beer. The cute male bartenders were enjoying making jokes with me and I of course ate up all the attention I was getting. Dominic was introducing me to every person who came in and I got a much needed dose of salty old Irish men and great conversation. Everyone is so friendly and outgoing and I felt at home, realizing this trip is already just what I needed. I anticipated feeling scared and anxious, but I’m fast learning that this type of travel is right in my comfort zone. I love meeting new people, every new place is exciting, I enjoy my own company and I don’t mind getting a little lost.

I didn’t really plan any part of this trip, but I especially didn’t plan to land on what would have been my Grandmother’s 90th birthday. A few months ago she was talking to me about a big party; she always wanted a reason for a grand event. It’s not as though a 90th birthday isn’t reason to celebrate but at the time the thought of planning such a gathering was overwhelming with my busy work schedule. Now I look at where life has taken me and how much has changed in a short period of time and I’m a little sad thinking about the lack of a party and the lack of her. 

When I decided a week ago that I would get on a plane and land anywhere my first thought was to call her. My thoughts always used to be “call mom” and then “call Grandma.” After we lost my mother I spent months getting used to not being able to call her about everything. I still wish to call her constantly, but I have become more aware that I can’t; now I have to start all over again remembering that I can’t call my Grandmother. She had become the immediate replacement as my first call for news. To be fair, she was a worthy replacement for the spot as every bit of my life I shared with her was greeted with enthusiasm and fascination. She always told me that we had each other and I know for both of us time spent together was a small reprieve from missing my mom as we both found pieces of her in each other.

I know what both my mom and Grandma would have thought about me taking this trip; they would have been thrilled and terrified. I would have been made to stay in touch with them constantly. It’s amazing how much I miss their constant worrying; it’s a nice feeling to know someone can’t live without you. I’m checking in several times a day with Lisa, who has informed me if she goes too long without a word from me she will be contacting the embassy. 

The day I flew out was also the same day that Ireland voted on legalizing gay marriage. The day I landed my NPR app notified me that the yesses had it and in further reading I saw that in spite of being one of the most conservative and religious countries in Europe, 75% of voters in Dublin had been for it. The streets were lined with signs about voting for equality and the locals were all a buzz. It felt special to start my trip with such a positive historical event. When chatting with an older Irish gentleman in a pub he told me religiously he didn’t personally support it, but he was in favor of the yes vote because the choices of others weren’t for him to decide. He then also told me, as he chuckled, that he has always been in favor of two women together but was less thilled about thinking of two men together. Baby steps I suppose; if ignorant people choose to be in favor of equality because they can recognize that it is right in spite of their personal beliefs, that is a good start.

 

One of many displays in the small town of Swords, Ireland


Lessons Learned on Day 1

  • The drivers are always on the side of the road I don’t expect and they are mad men.
  • Don’t ever stand on the bus even if there is something to hold on to. The Bus Drivers are in their own version of the game Crazy Taxi and they start and stop like a Terrier on speed.
  • Everything in Paris is pretty and everyone there is likely better than me.
  • Irish toilets are tall so everything lands loudly in them.
  • Going out just to drink is referred to as “going on the piss” which I’ll keep saying long after I leave.
  • The bathroom is called “the jacks” and I still don’t know how to use it in a sentence.
  • Tomatoes are seved with breakfast grilled and it is crazy delicious.
  • Due to my attraction to redheads, accents and beards, I actually have too many cute guys to even know what to do. For now I’m happy to befriend the safe, older men who have good stories, pay for my beer and refuse to let me return the favor.

Pigeons

25 Oct

I love Pigeons, so much.

I have heard many negative descriptors in reference to the humble Pigeon; most often they are called “flying rats”. People say that they are pests or the more pretentious offenders will go on and on about how in Europe they loiter in such large numbers that they are ruining cities and are accused of carrying diseases. I haven’t been to Europe but from what I hear tourists cause similar problems, so why single out birds who have no idea what they are doing?

I am here to spread some of my endless love for this funny, harmless, awesome creature so that maybe people will view them differently.

My personal love of pigeons began initially as a part of my constant adoration of all living things (minus mosquitos, silverfish or any insect that looks like a nightmare, I’m a real bugist sometimes). I became more enthused one day sitting in a park and watching a flock of them. They just ambled about not bothering anyone looking all extra adorable. They always look confused and a little blank, which I find sweet and endearing. It is as though they never quite know what is going on, but they don’t care, they will hobble on anyways.

If you walk or drive towards a pigeon they will pick up their pace and run to get out of the way, which is way more than I can say for most pedestrians I wave across the street. They don’t want to be a bother, they coexist in a benign manner, so why all the animosity?

I decided to do some research on my bobble necked friends.

Everyone thinks doves are great right? Well big news— doves and pigeons are the same family. The only differentials are size and color, but they share the same makeup otherwise. So liking doves and hating pigeons is racist. Hear that? RACIST.

A friend I made one day at Wrentham.

A friend I made one day at Wrentham Outlets.

The Columbidae (yeah, I know latin) have incredibly strong wings with the muscles alone making up 31-44% of their body weight. This makes them one of the best fliers in the entire animal kingdom. That’s badass if you ask me. If I met a guy who had arm muscles that were 44% of his weight I would be in awe– terrified, but still super impressed. I certainly wouldn’t mess with him.

Still not dazzled? What if I said that there have been over thirty pigeons who have been awarded medals for their contributions in wartime. I haven’t been given any such honor so I can say that those birds are in fact better than me. If I was asked to carry a message through fields of battle I would attempt to maybe text the information, but if there wasn’t any wifi or cell service, I’d give up and leave immediately. Harry Potter had Owls deliver messages, but in the real world, pigeons can actually be trained to do that. Friggin magic.

Now I have to talk of course about the classic head action the Pigeon is known for. In my reading I found the best information ever: it is thought that the pigeons classic head-bobbing is due to their needing to keep their vision constant. In a 1978 experiment by B.J. Frost, the scientist placed the birds on treadmills and with consistent surroundings the bobbing ceased. So I now have the information that I could see a Pigeon walking without moving his head at all, I feel like that is the equivalent of seeing a gerbil perform karaoke (ok, maybe that’s a stretch but I have never seen either so they remain in the same category).

How can I get a Pigeon on a treadmill in a humane way so I can see this?! I am adding this to my lifelong to do list, above gaining the unending trust of a squirrel but below hugging a willing chicken.

Maybe the popular distaste for these avian critters comes from not knowing enough. Usually when someone doesn’t like me it is just because they haven’t gotten to know me yet. I can understand the fear of diseases, but I have caught more illnesses from people than pigeons. I haven’t heard of any cases of birds with ebola or chlamydia but I do feel a risk of catching those things from a human, it doesn’t mean I dislike everyone. Also, maybe as a general rule: don’t hug, kiss, shake wings with or otherwise touch wild birds. Seems easy enough, no?

Pigeons are way cool once you get to know them.

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