Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Notes From a New Town

My large Manila envelope was signed, sealed and stapled when I walked into the post office a few days ago. But when it came time to have it delivered, the lady at the counter said, “Next time, don’t staple it.”

“Why”? I asked, trying to think of what could possibly be wrong with this age old method of securing an envelope.

“Because its dangerous to the postmen.”

What? Staples?


I am not one who delights in postmen getting poked by loose staples. But her reason didn’t make me come over all sympathetic for them either. In fact, I’m not feeling sympathetic at all towards the Communication Workers Union which will go on strike in the UK on October 22nd and 23rd, jeopardizing the services of Royal Mail. From what I know and understand it seems a case of workers being unable to face the reality of a declining business (when was the last time you wrote a letter?) or adapting to the changing game of postal services (they lost Amazon’s contract).

I can think of many more things that are more dangerous to postmen right now than the humble stapler pin.

Attacked By A Plump Pestilence

Who doesn’t enjoy hanging in cafes? There is such chemistry when you bring together some sunshine, a blueberry muffin, the newspaper and a hazelnut cappuccino. However, in London I simply can’t do it. Rather, I was so shit-scared after the first time that its very hard forme to eat outdoors again.

I have a long history of leaping out of my skin when a bird gets too close. For instance, when I hear the sound of fluttering wings, like a lot of newspapers being waved furiously in the air, I will cover my face with my hands, hunch my back and run in the opposite direction of the menacing bird.

So when I settled down at a nice corner table under a canopy at a neighbourhood cafĂ©, I was alarmed to find that pigeons were walking happily under all the tables picking up the smallest crumb that fell off your muffin. I was tense but saw that if I sat absolutely still they just worked around my feet and didn’t bother me. So I carried on and even thought to myself that with more such outings I might conquer my fears.

But about ten minutes into such thoughts, and just as I was finding the ability to focus on the piece about Obama’s heathcare bill, shattering my confidence was the fattest white pigeon of London town. While the other pigeons were content with the crumbs, this bird, in an audacious grab for more, flew straight at me and tried to land on my table to have a stab at my muffin from off my plate!

It was a real battle for a few agonizing seconds as the bird hovered over the table, flapping its wings madly (a sound that makes me weep) while I clung to the wall behind me hoping it would dissolve like the sugar in my coffee.

The confrontation ended only when a gentleman at the next table waved a languid hand at the bird. The pigeons in this city are plump, hungry and aggressive. “See Muffin, Will Peck” is their motto.



Ah, in London are you? And just when I have crossed over here to the US. Thought I might meet you . When do you return?

Anjali said...

wow London huh? I wonder when I would get to see that city! I am so longing to get out of the States and visit the UK sometime soon- the only hitch-my kids! They are way too young for backpacking and stuff. And when in the UK you need tons of time and energy to see all that the place has to offer.

Adithi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adithi said...

Hi Alaphia! How are you doing? I totally sympathize with the pigeon incident... I don't hate birds but their flapping and hovering sure intimidates me! You were infinitely braver than I would have ever been. Other than that hope you're having a good time... looking forward to more of your London chronicles.