Today I had an unusual encounter that riled my blood pressure no end. A friend and her daughter came over to visit and we took some gluten free bread that had moth infestation and some nice (sob) expensive liver cleanse cereal that is so yummy and had not been opened but was crawling with moth larvae to the geese, ducks and pigeons in the park. It is a waste to throw it in the bin and the larvae make a good bit of fresh protein that the geese, pigeons, ducks and seagulls and other water birds love.
Now there is a sign in the middle of the pond that says Don't feed the birds. People used to come down and throw their left over bread into the pond which has the effect of making the pond rather gungey with bread that is not eaten by the birds. I throw the bread onto the grass and the pigeons and other wild life including possums enjoy it and there is no waste.
When we finished throwing down some old Matza also with larvae and the bread and cereal, I sat on the bench with Evelyn and we talked about the meaning of life, exchanged woes, challenges and joys of child rearing as single parents and having to make a living and how to best balance life's necessities and deal with everything.
Presently a woman marches purposefully up to me. She is middle aged, got some sort of scarf dangling from around her neck and jewellery. In short she looks the typical aging matured hippy type.
'I have a few things to say to you.' She points at me. I look up and think to myself, this is going to be good. I bet she is going to ask me whether I can read the sign. I was immediately beginning to reflect whether I should pretend I have a reading challenge and ask her politely and pleasant if she could read it for me as I am illiterate, for the moment.
'My daughter is an environmental scientist.' She pauses and looks down her nose at me. 'She has studied it at university.' At this I look at her serenely and calmly smile showing teeth I wish I had filed for this occasion. 'OH, REAAALLeeee.' I say with the right amount of exaggerated surprise to show the level of my 'admiration' for such. 'She is really concerned that you are feeding these birds and wanted to say something to you. I know it is fun for the kids and all, .. but it encourages bad behaviour among the birds and it is not good for them to be fed. Don't you see the sign in the middle of the pond?' At that I wanted to get out my white cane, and tap the ground in front of me and say, 'Oh, sign, what sign?' and peer near sightedly at the trees and benches, and then ask her to read it for me. Instead I said, 'I happen to think that sign is a load of bollocks seeing as the council animal welfare officers could not be bothered about the foxes taking these birds a few years back in the drought and leaving wounded and dying birds in the pond. Quite hypocritical if you ask me.' She held up her hand and interrupted me,'That is another issue. I think you need to know that birds like these.....' Behind her there was dumpy young woman with a short skirt and legs like overstuffed sausages barreling up her rear. She had cropped black hair that reminded me of a basin cut that was popular in the fifties among people who wanted to save money on barbers and hairdressers. She had a face that reminded me of the boiled raisin puddings that people used to tie up in cheese cloth and boil. When you unwrapped it, it was an unappetising shade of gray with creases and swollen black raisins in it. Her face looked like one of those with two big raisins strategically placed and a folded over crease for her face and a bump for a nose. I was willing to lay short odds that this was the young environmental scientist.
'I am concerned that you are feeding these birds. Don't you see the sign. Don't you know how bad it is for these birds to be fed?'
I decided not to mince words. 'Why don't the pair of you mind your own businesses. What is it that you have to come up and bully people about a sign in a park? I can read and anyway what I am feeding these birds does not harm them. I raised chickens, ducks and turkeys etc in the country as a child. Don't talk crap. Go and bully someone else.' Both people got rather huffy and especially the environmental scientist. They had another would be environmentalist also pulling up the rear.
'The worst that will happen is these birds will be happier and fatter than they would normally be. Go and bully someone else somewhere else.'
'I also grew up in the country.' stated Ms Lady of the Scarves Draped around her neck. I gave her a look. 'Yeah right in the Dandenongs or Ferntree Gully most likely or Cranbourne. That is country for some people here. Like way out in the sticks where you are at least twenty minutes from the nearest 7/11 or a good half hour from a Westfield Shopping mall.
'Go away and bother someone else who will cow tow to your bullying. I don't want to be bothered.' I waved her away.
The two of them huffed up. 'We shall have to report her.' stated the daughter. Mother agreed and the three of them walked off with backward scowls.
I smiled and thought about pleading illiteracy. The geese honked happily and went on eating. The seven young goslings have grown quite fat and friendly. A couple of the big white geese had waddled over to inspect the newcomers. I has hoping they would take a peck or two as they do to me sometimes to tell me to hurry up and distribute the bread or cereal goodies. Unfortunately they saw these three as unpalatable human beings
Some people need to feel the POWER. That is why they will go and stand over and attempt to abuse perfect strangers.