8.15.2011

Panama City Beach Part 2: How Not to Catch a Pigeon

This really happened.

My husband and I are sitting on our folding chairs under the beach umbrella, watching the kids playing in the surf. The beach is crowded, and there is a guy sitting in close proximity to us, ahead and to the right. He is a little older than we are, frying himself in the sun in one of those very-close-to-the-ground beach chairs. His female significant other is not around. In one hand is a cigarette, in the other a Bud Light. The tattoo on his left ankle boldly declares: "Jeep: It's a way of life."

We exchange a few pleasantries.

blogpic1 Out of nowhere, a bunch of pigeons invade our shared territory. The big, black chunky kind with beady red eyes. They are brazenly marching around right next to us and Jeep-tattoo guy. He turns around and looks at us, shaking his head, annoyed by the pigeon invasion, as if to seek an understood alliance against our common enemy. We chuckle mildly in polite response. Then he says to us, "Know what I wanna do?"

Neither my husband nor I really know how to respond to a question like that.

"Imma get me a pigeon," he says. And then, his famous last words..."Watch this." Except he says it like "Watch-iss."

In that moment, he takes a swipe at the fat pigeon bobbing its head around his chair, trying to either hit the bird or catch it. I'm not sure which. But the pigeon is slightly behind him, so his swipe requires him to overextend himself to his left, the side we're on.

He misses.

And then, before he can correct, his chair falls over backwards, in slow motion. The back of his head is in the sand, and his feet are sticking up in the air. He rights himself with a grunt of disgust. Chunky pigeon, unruffled, does not even bother to fly away.

We avert our eyes, pretending not to have seen, and trying desperately to contain ourselves. After that, he no longer makes eye contact with us.

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