mercredi, février 22, 2006

Bad Day For French Creatures

While walking down the Rue Antoine Bourdelle today, I looked down at an odd grey shape between two parked cars and saw that it was a pigeon, flattened and bloody, crushed by a car so completely that he looked like a bleeding caricature of the American Eagle on the back of a quarter. His head and neck, which were extended beyond the outline of his body, were flattened too. The carcass hadn't begun to mummify or disintegrate, or whatever process it is that occurs to make most dead bird bodies you encounter look like bloodless, crumbling sheets of cardboard pasted with feathers--no, this kill looked fresh. It was the first time I'd seen something like that, I mean so gory and vivid, and on a small side street near a very nice museum. I moved on, to the café on the corner, where I'd never been before, and where I ordered a nice rumsteak (as they call it), and there forgot about the pigeon and instead lamented my rotten couple of hours drawing at the Bourdelle. We have to move again tomorrow, and this has me in a bad mood, and maybe that's why the drawing was so rough this afternoon.

Then on the walk home I looked down at another odd grey shape in the street and couldn't believe that it was another crushed pigeon, as fresh and as comprehensively flattened as the first, just around the corner from our borrowed apartment. Jesus! What is suddenly wrong with the pigeons here? I've hit a bird ONCE and killed it, and one time a bird flew right into the antenna of a truck I was driving, but lived. Each time I was in a vehicle and the bird was flying and complex vectors and high rates of speed were involved, and I can understand how every once in a while someone could get something wrong in a situation like that. But these pigeons were cut down by cars trying to park. Have you ever seen a bird so absent-minded or unconcerned about his own well-being that he let a car back over him?

Perhaps it is the winter that is getting to them.

So I was a little unsettled, as much by the implicit abandonment of animal instinct as the sight of twin grand guignal spectacles. I made it home, and Dear Wife let me in the front door and faced me with a shaken look. "What is it?" I asked.

"I've got something horrible to tell you." I immediately think of the pigeons.

"I went to ED," (the unsavory market at the end of the block, adjacent to pigeon #2), "And I was looking for some chicken and they had steaks there that were horse meat." She blanched even more and looked ready to vomit.

"It said 'Filet à Cheval' on the packaged and," she took a deep breath here,"They had a little sticker in the corner with a horse head on it."

Jesus.

We hugged and I tried to calm her, and she calmed down and I didn't know what to make of commercially available horse meat. She told me it hit her especially hard because before visiting ED she had been to our old grocery store, the much nicer but still kinda' skanky Champion, and there she had seen a mother and her children all dressed up in their riding kit, with jodphurs and dirt and horsehair on them, and it made her think about her days riding and how she hoped to do it again, and it was in this hopeful, horsey mood that she came across the horse steaks.

Paris. Cruel capital.

2 Comments:

At vendredi, février 24, 2006, Blogger rickart said...

Very interesting. Here in the states we tend to think of Europe and consistently on the liberal side of issues... it's sobering to recognize that on some topics, like animal rights and smoking, they are on a totally different track.

 
At lundi, février 27, 2006, Blogger Skribbl said...

This story has left me ill and I am currently in the process of cleaning my keyboard of this afternoon's lunch. Thank you for sharing. I shall never look upon a Carousel the same.

 

Enregistrer un commentaire

<< Home