Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Birds.

You may have heard of a recent documentary called The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, a film in which a kindly and sensitive hobo tends a flock of WILD PARROTS that have made Telegraph Hill their home. (Telegraph Hill is a interesting place even without the parrots. It’s home to houses with no road access, Coit Tower -- a priapitic monument to a Victorian firefighter groupie who was called Lizzie Coit (I think). It looks like a giant fire hose nozzle, and is fairly well coated with WPA social realist mural on the interior. The Hill is also where you can find the former home of Philo Farnsworth, inventor of the cathode ray tube. As if you care.)

Where do the parrots come from? Hell if I know. I haven’t seen the movie. All I know is those noisy little bastards come down from the hill on early evenings when the weather is warm and settle in a little park I pass through on my walk to the BART station. (Note: NOT the same park that hosts Old-Chinese-Lady-Robics . That would be too much radness and a black hole would form. )

They’ve been doing this for as long as I’ve worked in the neighborhood, and it’s one of my favorite things about living in the Bay Area (which I’m growing slightly less enchanted with year by year). What kills me is since the release of the film, SENSITIVE GOONS WITH EXPENSIVE CAMERAS have come out to INTERFACE with the goddamn parrots, like they’re the fucking Dalai Lama. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE THOSE SCREECHY LITTLE FUCKERS, I’m just like “NOW you’re interested, you fucks? Because of a goddamn movie? It’s like an indie-film version of the creepy spectacle of paunchy suburban shit heads flocking to the baseball diamond where they shot “Field of Dreams”. Remember that? What is wrong with people?

In a curious development, this same park has recently been populated by chickens -- your garden variety, bock bock, fat, fluffy back and white speckled yard birds. From whence did these birds come, as they are flightless? They certainly look healthy, and it appears they remain unmolested by the few career homeless that hang out in the area.

It’s an open park, with a small fenced-in corporation yard. Aside from the afore mentioned homeless, it’s a popular hangout for bike messengers – they come to smoke weed and threaten each other with violence under the eucalyptus (another amazing transplant. The central California coast is full of these wild growing stands of Eucalyptus, imported by an early twentieth century entrepeneur eager to corner the budding telegraph pole market. He unfortunately brought in the wrong species of Eucalyptus and went bust. True goddamn story. My plan is to now introduce Koalas.) , but to date, they have not subjected the chickens to acts of violence.

My own experience with bike messengers is limited. I sort of knew a guy that owned a bike messenger service, and he was a super sweet guy. Another guy I knew, a romantic rival whose hopelessly tragic girlfriend I was trying to woo (I found out later he gave her genital warts) was a low-foreheaded thug, who felt the main benefit of the job lay in the fact he could do it while frying on acid.

The guys I’ve seen hanging out at the little plaza above the walk are definitely of the low-foreheaded variety.

(Funny bike messenger anecdote: There is a place in downtown SF called the Wall, which is, appropriately, a low curving wall that runs ‘round the e-Trade day-trading outlet. The messengers hang out here as well, although the lot down here seem to have more a sunny disposition than the Parrot Park Stranglers. Anyway, this was the mid nineties. Some yuppie was walking down the street, screaming into his cel phone. Almost as if it were rehearsed, the group of twenty or so bike messengers all pointed and laughed at this guy at once, very loudly. All the guy could do was glare at them and continue yelling. The class struggle is funny!)

Anyway, Parrots and chickens living peacefully. I’m a fan.

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Blogger nedhead said...

You live in a strange and demented world. And I mean that as a compliment.

In my vicinity, I have no such parks where parrots and chickens can live in harmony! I have seen chickens running around a graveyard in an urban setting, though. Does that count for anything?

6:37 AM  
Blogger Greg Mills said...

if the chickens are living in peace with the undead, I'd say that is a bigger achievement than mere intra-terrestrial vertebrates class kumbaya.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous karena said...

Bastard, this is a remarkable story. Your writing is so interesting I can see the whole picture. I have no need for that movie.

I also like the chickens in the urban grave yard.

I was in Luchenbach, TX listening to some guitar pickers and there were chickens in the trees. Maybe they were roosters, but either way, it was strange.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Greg Mills said...

Ha! Chickens are everywhere! Chickens are the shekels of my imagination.

11:18 AM  

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