posted at 6:45 pm
on Nov. 25, 2012
I wish I had a picture to go with this entry… but you’ll just have to use your imagination. There was no time to snap a shot, and I will never, ever recreate this event…. this horrible, horrible event…
I went to Granville island today with my friend Sarah. in the food court, I went with my favorite: Chinese food, consisting of mixed noodles, lemon chicken, and sweet and sour pork. I also got a bottle of Diet Coke.
The food court was very full, but they day was surprisingly sunny for a November in Vancouver, so we decided we could eat outside despite the chill. We’re Canadian, eh?
Went out the door, and approximately 7 seconds later, there was a sound that reminded me of a valkyrie’s war cry, and a seagull the size of a doberman swooped out of the sky, landed on my right arm and grabbed the largest piece of pork right off my plate, scattering chow mein in the process.
(I should also say that, later, after I finished my meal, I discovered that the bird’s beak had punctured a deep and perfect triangular beak hole in the bottom of the styrofoam plate. I mean, this was the kind of hole CSI would use to determine a murder weapon… but read on)
I reacted on instinct, like a viper, kind of, and made a sudden defensive sweep with my Diet Coke bottle, which I was already holding by the lid as sort of a world’s-shortest-mace thing. While doing this, my plate dipped, but I maintained a good 80-85% of the food (not including the pork nugget) and only noodles slid off, forming a patina of mein on the ground outside the door. Several other birds swooped in, some high, some low, but I was prepared with both a yell and another broad sweep of the carbonated beverage weapon.
Hugging the side of the building we moved further away from the door, but the birds continued their attack. Only on me! Her plate, despite having fried cod and green beans, was clearly not attractive to these carnivorous raptors. There were about 65 other people outside, sitting around the plaza, all in various stages of protecting their food, ignoring me, gasping at the spectacle, or simply noting the cute little kids dancing in front of the guitar-playing busker. They were cute, it’s true—but I was being air bombed!
The seagulls never stopped attacking, and after about 100 seconds of facing the beasts, ever on the move, and trying to get away from the building to a safe bench but being driven back (swoop, swoop, SWIPE—swoop, swoop, caw, SWIPE), we moved back inside via another door and stood shaking by the restrooms.
“Did that really happen?” I asked.
“That’s insane,” I said.
“Yep.” This time, there was some laughter from one of us. Then both of us. Wow.
The food court was still completely full, so after completing another circuit, I decided maybe we could sneak out the other side, where the parking lotis and the crowd of birds isn’t, and just sit on a railing.
Open door. Look left. Look right. No birds. Look up (I’m not dumb). Nothing. OK, no problem.
Step outside, another step, and anot….fusthehellcrapola!! This time, it was a smaller, brown and grey seagull, who, ninja-like, had apparently been gripping the wall above me, head down, like Spiderman poised to leap onto Doctor Octopus’ back.
Once again, a large piece of my oh-so-delicious-to-seagulls Chinese food vaporized, and Sarah and I turned and bolted back inside. The door hadn’t even completely shut yet, so quick, efficient and brutal was the assault.
My hand was covered in sweet saucy goodness, with only a little backsplash having hit my jacket. My plate was now about 70% full, and I knew there was no leaving this building again with food in hand. We waited like alley cats next to a tiny table for someone else to finish, finally sat down and ate our meal soberly. No longer were we the top animals on the food pyramid.
I watched many, many people go outside over the next 45 minutes; only a few were the subject of the Pearl Harbor reenactment I went through, and i wasn’t able to tell if it was a particular food, a certain outfit, or perhaps just having both hands full—the birds did not reveal their tell. They simply picked a victim, tall, small, old or young, and like lions on the savannah, took prey when they felt hungry.
It was, quite truly, the most terrifying bird-related experience I’ve ever lived through.
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