A Pocketful of Pigeons

Heeding travel guru Rick Steves’ advice regarding Venice, Italy: “Don’t plan anything, just go with the flow and get lost!” we set out to do just that. And no matter where we went—the highly populated squares and piazzas, or the paths less traveled—we encountered pigeons.

A quick internet search reveals that “Pigeons once rivaled cats as the traditional, if unofficial, mascots of Venice.” Further, I learned that many people around the globe believe that to be hit by a “bird bomb” is a sign that good luck is just around the corner; it’s even in the 2003 movie Under the Tuscan Sun.

What you can’t see in the photo below is the agitation on the face of the proprietor of an off-the-beaten-path outdoor restaurant that’s frequented by locals—families on a Sunday afternoon.

Note: the child in the background is not about to be airlifted by a giant pigeon. It’s somewhat of an optical illusion in that the pigeon is only about 8-feet from me, while the child is about 25-yards in the distance.

As a young couple left their table, pigeons descended en masse to snatch the left-behind crumbs; their fluttering wings tipping the wine glasses precariously. The proprietor rushed out, flapping his hands to shoo them away before any glasses crashed to the ground and broke.

What was the last thing that exasperated you?

© lauriebuchanan.com

48 thoughts on “A Pocketful of Pigeons

  1. I haven’t been to Venice but I take note of the advice (I love just wandering around, after I’m a bit familiar with a place). This morning I was doing some of my on-line German coursework and I was particularly mindless (I kept misreading the questions and replying the wrong thing). Although I was annoyed at the software, it was evidently I who was at fault. Too many things in my head? Have a great day and thanks for sharing.

  2. Great question! My life is normally “go with the flow” and very much “unplanned.” However, when I work now, very sporadically, my day follows a clearly defined itinerary with specific times. I am a tour director, and it my job to do the “logistics” to make sure that our program participants get to see and do all of the items listed on the itinerary.

    We use large rooms in the hotel we where we are staying to host lectures now and then. The hotel agrees to the days and times for these meetings. For the purposes of safety and security, the doors to these spaces are kept locked up until the time we are scheduled to be in them.

    Yesterday, our speaker arrived on time and the door to the room was locked. I had to make two calls to the front desk and then go down to the front desk to get the doors unlocked. I felt exasperated, as did the speaker. However, it was and is very important that I not let my exasperation transfer to people with whom I am working. We were “ready” by the time our guests arrived, and the lecture proceeded without a hitch!

  3. Exasperation comes when I’m busy trying to get something done in a hurry and another event intrudes keeping me from getting the job done. And the more rushed I am to complete a job the more intruders there are. The moral of the story is: Don’t rush. Breathe deeply. Life is going to happen.

    • Joan — I’m right there with you. One of my pet peeves is feeling rushed (internal trigger), or being rushed (external trigger). Like you, I’m a fan of deep, restorative breathing 🙂

  4. Perhaps the dust on my furniture that never seems to stay away – or the windows that insist on being streaked, despite being washed three times already using different methods. Time to pull out the squeegee I guess. Life here is simple and mostly pigeon-free.

    • Carol — I bet your feline friends would offer to wash your windows to get just a wee bit closer to the wide variety of birds that like to parade for you in your beautiful neck of the woods.

  5. That photo is wonderful with its optical illusion. I don’t remember pigeons being particularly numerous in Venice (not more than other cities). Oh, except perhaps at the Piazza San Marco?

    I have been “bombed” by pigeons elsewhere though. I remember eating lunch in Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia many years ago when a pigeon decided to let loose all over me. I had to go back to the office and clean up. Yuck! I think I was probably more disgusted than exasperated. 🙂

    • Merril — I assure you, the Piazza San Marco is still PACKED with pigeons.

      I think it would be interesting to know how much (if any) luck you’ve experienced since your lunch in Rittenhouse Square can/can’t be attributed to being the recipient of a pigeon’s calling card 🙂

      • It was years ago, Laurie. It was when I had an internship during grad school. I guess I’ve had good and bad luck, like most people. I think the only thing I experienced was disgust. 🙂

      • Merril — Decades ago I had a roommate who was a model for Breck shampoo (hair way past her bum). I was with her one day when a pigeon let loose on her gorgeous hair. Like you, she felt nothing but disgust! My emotions were right along side hers as I helped her to wash her hair. I gag just thinking about it…

  6. Pigeons will be pigeons. Maybe the restaurant-owner should move inside. : )
    Sorry, as you may be able to tell this hit a nerve.
    Lately, the news has been full of stories about animals having to be killed due to human error. It has more than exasperated me.

  7. I’m not really a pigeon lover although it is from friends I have heard of problems with pigeons – one had pigeons taking over his apartment balcony and messing it up with you know what. However, let me hear about or see a dog or cat locked in a car on a hot and humid day and I can go ballistic. Same thing for a child. You wonder what some people are thinking – such as “Oh, I was just running into the store for a few minutes.”

    My latest exasperation is yet another dental problem. With all the health problems the last year, to paraphrase a colleague’s self-help book for workaholic entrepreneurs – her book is titled “My Business Ate My Life.” For me it would be “My Health Ate My Life.”


    • Sharon — here in Boise we can take a photo of a car with an animal or child and Tweet it to the Boise Police Department. You provide the location, they now have the license plate, and the perpetrator’s deed is blasted all over kingdom come! It’s really cut down on that type of activity! 🙂

  8. Great post and such a funny picture!!

    I have an easy answer to this question…last night I had thirteen girls aged 14 sleep over for their end of the year bash with my daughter. UGH some girls are so drama filled that I literally had to walk away a few times as my blood pressure was climbing! I am not, never was, never will be, a drama girl and after listening to my daughter tell them they could go home if they didn’t stop and enjoy the party, I realized I’ve trained her well ha ha. Tina

    **I did share some of the pictures on my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/chasenchanceranch

  9. I am frustrated with our attempts at getting a new roof on this old house (prices from $100k to $33K and lots in between. It is truly producing anxiety for my partner. Also I am getting about 800 spam messages on my phone a day – if I open the computer first they are sent to “junk” folder right away. If I open phone first they can not be removed right away. It takes me about an hour a day to remedy the problem and then it is compounded that I got 3 weeks behind on my reading and can not seem to get caught up and back to being a month ahead. Pressure is making stress which is interfering with healing right now….My newly retired husband is off biking the islands this week with friends – I am reading until the wee hours to work at getting ahead. Reading is not so fun at this pace! Oh those pigeons! Great picture 🙂 We have seagulls – Your car will be spotted for sure this time of year if you go downtown!

    At one wedding, the bride got bird pooh down hair, face, chest and between her breasts. The bride started to cry – the groom and best man both produced handkerchiefs and support and the father of the bride offered up, “Aren’t we glad that cows don’t fly” and the clergy started laughing ! It worked out well

    • Patricia — I’m so sorry about the roofing issues and subsequent spam attacks.

      On the lighter side, I love the wedding story, and how wonderfully quick and humorous the clergy was who saved the day 🙂

  10. I used to get a lot more exasperated when I was younger; meditation and yoga have made me much more accepting of people’s (and animals’) eccentricities. However, occasionally I still get exasperated at myself. :-0 In the SF bay area town where I lived for a long time, it’s the seagulls who swoop down at the outdoor cafes even before you finish your meal. Those gulls look quite well-fed! Beautiful fun photos of Venice!

  11. We live in a small community in the country. Lake on one side cow pasture on another. We share this space with lots of wildlife. Part of living here is learning to co-exist with nature. So, I do tend to get more than a little exasperated when people start talking about killing or relocating critters. Now they are also talking about cutting down the trees in our beautiful old woods. I think it’s actually a good thing that it’s extremely hot right now — the heat is forcing me inside and giving me a chance to get centered and calm down.

  12. I’m so enjoying my vicarious trip to Venice through your eyes, Laurie. It’s a place that’s been on my bucket list long before there were bucket lists. While I can’t come up with an exasperation memories at the moment, I do recall a “pet” pigeon I had one winter (my twelfth, I believe). I rescued it from something, sheltered it in my mother’s car (I know!!!) and it rode on my shoulder all around town. Perhaps my mother has an exasperation story to tell.

  13. Laurie, thanks for asking that question and for giving me another thing to be grateful for. I’m having trouble recalling exasperation. Annoyance, yes. Exasperation probably comes when I have a technical problem with computer/website/printer/wifi and no one to fix it or teach me how to handle it. The Venice proprietor has a right to his exasperation. He would be surprised to know how your observations have reverberated around the world!

  14. This made me laugh! And share to Facebook. I love the optical illusion, and that it was unplanned makes it all the better. The last thing that exasperated me was animal-related as well. A dog thrusting his nose into my face and his body over my book when I am trying to read…

    • Lucinda — I understand about dogs. Ours is Willa, an Irish Wolfhound who knows the wet-nose trick too. Further, she drools and leaves behind a trail of hair. Ahhhh, but you’ve gotta love it! 🙂

  15. Waiting for your book to be released 😀I need it right now Laurie because I’ve tried to organise a poetry group …only one answered my advent and I’m sitting here waiting looks like she ‘s not going to turn up either So people not having the decency to let you know they are not coming …that is what exasperates me 😬😁
    Wish I lived near you I bet you’d turn up 🌟
    By the way the reviews for your book were amazing 🎈🎈🎈

  16. She turned up Laurie , she was lovely …and potty like me . I think we might be a team ….she thought it was 7.30 ….I thought it was 7 .00 😊😊 I’ve already burst for you my darlin 😉

  17. Having spent the last ten days pulling an 8 foot U-Haul over 2,500 miles driving a Chevy Colorado named “Miss Daisey,” I believe I’m going to plead the “Fifth” on this one.

  18. Ahhhh, I am thinking once again of Venice and how much I enjoyed that place. And how the pigeons swooped everywhere, but didn’t carry off any little boys. 🙂 Last thing that exasperated me? Probably getting too identified with my own thoughts even though they weren’t true. Thoughts can be just like pigeons, bombarding us like crazy! Ha ha

  19. Ha, Laurie I was just exasberated not more than 15 minutes ago. At my desk in the room where I teach literature enrichment for the summer school program I knocked over a cup of coffee that spilled all over papers and my pants. Ugh. Mop time ensued.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.