It’s time for some levity, folks. Laughter can be a cure for all ills. Imagine if we could have comedy laugh-offs instead of drive-by shootings? Imagine if all disputes could simply be a war of words as opposed to a war of bullets? As individuals and as a society, one day we may make it there. But in the meantime, I need to lighten up and take a mental health break by writing about a couple of incidents that happened to me recently.
A couple of months ago, I took on a part-time job working for a local caterer. Not only is their food delicious, but they cater parties all over the Chicago area. Alas, due to my work schedule for my primary job, I hadn’t been able to do any of the catering events. Then my hours changed and my free time allowed me to work one.
I accepted the catering event without question. My mouth salivated as I thought of all the wonderful food I would get to eat. I like a variety of foods and different ethnic cuisines. However, try as I might, I don’t like Indian food. Greek food doesn’t appeal to me either. I have never eaten a gyro, nor cared to try it.
When I got to the catering event, the event planner told me I would be serving. Then she dropped the bombshell. An Indian girl was marrying a Greek guy. My eyes immediately dulled and my stomach ceased to rumble. The two cuisines I like the least, and they were the feast for the evening. The buffet would be catered by an Indian restaurant, and we would act as servers. Needless to say, I didn’t eat much that night.
But all was not lost. After dinner as I was helping to clean up and daydreaming so as to not focus on my hunger pains, I heard in the background, “Hands on your knees. One hop this time. Two hops this time.”
Why, it was the Casper Slide being played at a wedding filled with mostly Indians and Greeks. All was not lost, I thought. I smiled and sang along softly because although the food wasn’t to my liking, it was great to see that doing “The Slide” is now so much a part of American culture that it’s being embraced by all.
I also gotta tell you about my encounter with “Ms. Pigeon.” No, it’s not a dance but a two-legged, double-winged, grey-and-black critter that displayed an attitude I have never seen before in a bird. I drive a bus that is similar in size to a CTA bus. The pigeon was walking near the curb as I pulled my bus into a spot. “Stupid bird,” I said to myself as the pigeon walked beneath a much smaller bus in front of me. As that bus pulled off, I chuckled and imagined that the pigeon would soon be a “goner.”
Well to my surprise, the bird was still on the ground! The bus ahead of me had pulled off and drove right over the bird without hitting her. I have made the bird a “her” simply because she displayed the chutzpah and attitude of a female. I was impressed that the bird had survived. But now it stood in front of my 40-foot-long bus. The bird was standing sideways so as to be able to look directly at me and my bus as if she were challenging me.
Now I’m not one to back down. So I blew my horn. The sound didn’t faze the pigeon. I blew the horn again – louder than the first time. Again the stupid bird just stood there. I got off my bus to scare the bird and she promptly walked under my bus. I got back on my bus and debated what to do. By this time the traffic aide came up to my bus, and I told her about the “stupid” bird underneath my bus. We both agreed that there was nothing we could do, so I slowly pulled my bus forward. Fifty feet later, I look into my rearview mirror and into the rearview camera and the bird had survived my bus passing over her and she was still standing in the street – defiant.
The next day I saw the traffic aide and mentioned the bird. She told me that same bird had stood in front of a car and the poor driver had come to ask her to get the bird out of the way because he didn’t want to run over it. The aide approached the bird and if she went right, the bird would move left. She maneuvered the bird to the sidewalk a number of times, but the bird would eventually go back down into the street near the curb.
Finally she flagged down a city tow-truck driver who also tried to get the bird to move and still Ms. Pigeon wouldn’t budge. So the tow truck driver radioed for Streets and San workers to come get the bird, figuring it couldn’t fly. The workers arrived and began to approach the bird, dangling those huge black garbage bags. Their intent: to capture her inside.
Well, Ms. Pigeon took one look at those bags, spread her wings and flew off into the wild blue yonder. She wasn’t scared of a bus, car or tow-truck, but a black bag probably reminded her of Colonel Sanders or Popeye’s and she wasn’t having any of that.
See? I told you laughter is good for the soul.