Here I am, sitting in the same park…just like last week. I am eating an entire baguette by myself…just like last week. Yet, unlike last week, a hoard of pigeons is surrounding me, begging for a crumb. I must truly look like a crazed bird woman, sitting here with their masses scattered around my feet. I refuse to share my bread with them, though. Not because I wish to seem them starve, but because I payed good money for this bread. Sixty-nine cents to be exact!
I attempt to shift down the bench, potentially plotting a speedy getaway. As I scoot, my foot “brushes” a pigeon, who squawks loudly and hops away. Jesus Christ, I think. Did I just kick a pigeon? Did anyone else see that?
I look around, but everyone else seems too invested in their own lives to notice moi, Pigeon Kicker Extraordinaire. To my left are three incredibly obese women, eating lunch and talking animatedly. They don’t really fit on the bench, but they are giving it outstanding effort. Across from me, two friends are sitting on the bench, but are not speaking. A confused-looking man wearing really nice shoes and terrible plaid shorts keeps taking pictures of the fountain, all from the same angle. I can imagine his vacation slideshow will be scintillating.
“Scusa signorina!” I look up to see a stout woman with brown hair and a visor is speaking to me. “Di dove sei Piazza san Marco?” she continues. My small throb of triumph upon being mistaken for an Italian quickly dissipates when I realize she is asking me a question. Which requires speaking. Italian.
“Eh…Non…non parlo Italiano…” I awkwardly mumble.
“Ah, si…” she thinks for a moment before popping her head back up. “Tu parles francais?” she asks.
“Oui oui oui oui oui!” I clap like a mentally unstable seal.
“Ah, tu es francais?” she smiles with the joy of finding another of her people.
“Eh…” here it comes: “Je suis Americanne…”
The woman doesn’t have much to say to that. I proceed to give her directions en francais and see that she continues on her way. Yet, as they leave, I see her husband pull a map out of his fanny pack and feel defeated. Whatever. At least I have my pigeons to keep my company.
Oh wait, I don’t. They have all migrated to the opposite side of the park, where a bald, rather intimidating figure is sharing his Chianti with the birds.
Who knew kicking a pigeon could leave on so lonely?