Seagull season.

Tuesday, March 29th, 2005

Spring is in the air, and that means that seagull season is about to start again. During seagull season (which is pretty much spring, summer and fall), the giant, mutant seagulls that roam the streets and rooftops of Brighton get extra aggressive and start ripping into everyone’s garbage bags, strewing trash left and right and generally making the streets look rather nasty. During the warm summer months, this avian vandalism tends to take place at dawn and is accompanied by hellishly piercing squawks and cries as competing seagulls vie for trash bag dominance.

I really can’t quite express the physical and mental stress that this causes. If you have not heard giant, mutant seagulls battling outside your window at 4:30 in the morning, ripping open plastic bags and throwing cans, bones and bits of rotten fruit all over the sidewalk, then - well, count yourself lucky. In the four summers I’ve lived here (Has it been four already? Yipes…), I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to leap out of bed at the crack of down, run downstairs in my pajamas, and chase seagulls away from my front door. I also can’t count the number of times I’ve had to sweep up a week’s worth of my own garbage from my doorstep before I’ve even had breakfast, or the number of times Jeremy and I have tried to throw things at the seagulls from our window to get them to go away (they go away for all of 10 seconds and then they come back), or the number of times I’ve just buried my head in my pillows to try to drown out the sounds of the seagull apocalypse taking place outside, in the vain hope that the garbage-crazed sea birds would just go away of their own accord (they never do).

Anyway, our garbage was supposed to be collected this morning, but since yesterday was a holiday, everything is apparently out of whack (as usual). So as of late this morning, my trash bags were still sitting out on the sidewalk just where I left them last night. Around noon, I was sitting at my computer when I heard a little plastic-y rustling from outside. I leaped up and ran to the window, and lo, there it was: the first giant, mutant seagull of the season, plucking at my trash bags with its giant, mutant beak. A rush of seagull rage came over me, so I flew down the stairs, flung my front door open and, with wild eyes and a seagull-directed expletive on my lips, I hurled myself out onto the sidewalk - and right into the path of an oncoming pedestrian, who looked at me with sheer terror, swerved out of my way, and hustled away down the street. Much to my chagrin, the seagull had already moved on, so I suppose I just looked like a madwoman flying out into the street for no apparent reason - or like someone who was just really, really mad that their garbage hadn’t been collected on time. I sheepishly gathered up the trash bags and brought them inside, and when the seagull waddled back in my vicinity as I was doing this, I made some threatening gestures at it - which were probably spotted by my neighbors, making me look like even more of a nut-job.

Oh well. If you had to live through Brighton’s seagull season, you would understand. These seagulls are not the charming water birds you imagine from vacations to the beach. These are hardened urban gulls, weaned on a diet of moldering kebabs and soggy chips, wandering the streets in packs on the lookout for hapless trash bags to rip to shreds for sport. They may look picturesque from a distance, but up close, their blank, beady little eyes tell a different story: they are brainless garbage-eating machines, and I think their sole purpose in life is to drive…me…mad… Or at least make me look like an idiot in front of neighbors and passing pedestrians.



Then Hitchcock’s movie was a documentary after all…

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