As she entered the city park, she passed the sign. It read, “Please Do Not Feed the Ducks.” It might seem a rather simple instruction. Idiot proof even. But appearances are slippery critters.
The trail emerged from the trees onto a boardwalk and there they were. The strollers, the toddlers, the other moms, all enjoying the clear day on the boardwalk through the wetlands. They threw bags upon bags of stale bread over and through the weathered wooden rails to the waiting crumb addicts. Ducks, geese, turtles and fish cavorted for a chance at a nutritionless junk food handout.
Her son slept through the honking blasts of the ducks and geese doing battle as she lengthened her stride. The wheels of the stroller thump-thump-thumped over the boards, a rhythmic beat as counterpoint to the wing section in fowl chorus.
She tried to understand. Well, perhaps the Wonderbread was gluten free. Maybe these people justified their actions because their brand of bread merely turned wildlife into an exotic version of a porcine Nintendo-addicted couch-potato. Right. Let’s go with that, she thought with a smile.
There was an obstruction on the boardwalk. A kid was now lying in the middle of the path: his small powerful lungs exhaled at aircraft engine volume, his heels tested the compressive strength of the treated wood of the path, a bag of stale Wonderbread floated nearby in the muddy water, and a duck swarm was at that moment going to Defcon 1 in unbridled excitement.
She didn’t have time for this and swerved the stroller around the thrashing tantrum. Her mission was to complete the walk, get her mid-morning exercise, and get to the grocery store. She mentally ran through her checklist of to-dos for the day. Thumpety-thump-thump, the stroller said as it cruised along in front of her. She added going to the gas station at the appropriate priority to her list.
Once more her mind wandered to the scene behind her. The bread. The sign. Rotund waterfowl. Foie gras.
Maybe she was simply the only literate person in the park that day. Still, the sign did sport graphics. And was written in two languages. No. That couldn’t be it.
Was she just old-fashioned because she believed rules weren’t optional unwanted suggestions for her personal inconvenience? Maybe she was the only person around that thought simple rules actually applied to her and were not created for everyone-not-me.
It was hot. She adjusted her dark pony tail and white ball cap. Her husband’s LSU cap. She sighed. At least the grocery store would have a/c.
Copyright © 2014 Eric Schweitz