The pigeon has been flapping around our office for nearly 24 hours now.
It arrived yesterday just a few minutes before I left. I'm pretty sure it came in through a (carelessly left open) window on in the stairwell between the first and second floors, and then somehow managed to fly its way up to our fourth-floor office.
Perhaps thirty people work in the office area on this floor, which is divided into four sections by clear glass walls supported by white wooden frames. The design of the window walls is strange. Some reach to the ceiling. Others do not.
This is a bad place for a frightened bird to get stuck. Its wings flapping madly, the pigeon first flew into the glass-walled section where I work and tried to turn left. It bounced off the window wall like a tennis ball hurled against a garage door.
The pigeon fell in midair a foot or two before righting itself and continuing its flight. It flew over a glass wall that doesn't reach all the way to the ceiling, and into another glass-walled section of the office. Within seconds, it had slammed full speed into at least two more glass windows. It was like a game of Pong gone bad.
Of course, the employees were all freaking out. Several people screamed. One woman hid under her desk like this was an earthquake drill. I put my glasses on to make sure the pigeon couldn't peck out my beautiful eyes.
One man did try to capture the bird. He stood on a chair and jumped in the air as the pigeon flew by. The man missed and fell to the ground.
After banging hard into a few more windows, the pigeon momentarily perched on top of one of the glass walls that doesn't reach to the ceiling. I was quite pleased that the pigeon was no longer hurtling itself into windows, as I had cringed in empathetic pain each time this happened. However, I was quite displeased that the perch the bird had chosen was directly above my desk. Worse still, its back was facing me. It was barely five feet away from me, and I could easily imagine the direct diagonal line from its tail feathers to my face. I drew my lips together tightly as I pictured the possible bird poo shower I might soon receive. I silently wished that my glasses had windshield wipers.
It was about this time that I decided to take off work a little early.
When I came back today, I assumed the pigeon problem had been solved. The morning passed uneventfully. And then, a few hours ago, a pigeon flew through the office and slammed into a glass wall.
"Holy shit!" I shouted, trying to gather the words back in as soon as I'd said them. "Another pigeon got in here?"
"No," one of my colleagues said. "It's the same pigeon."
Apparently, the bird had found a dark, shallow alcove high on one of the walls and had spent the night there, only to resurface this afternoon.
"He's going to die in here," I said. "How is he going to eat? Someone should get him out of here."
My colleagues nodded in agreement. Someone should, but we all knew none of us would be that foolish someone who would grab the bird with our bare hands. Hello, we've all heard of Avian Flu.
Aliyah asked me what the bird's name was. I said "Rat," for two reasons. The first is that this pigeon is like a rat stuck in some awful man-made maze. The second is that pigeons remind me of flying diseased rats.
Everyone in the office seems to have quickly grown accustomed to the doomed bird flapping and bumping around the office. No one but me even seems to look up when he circles just a few feet above our desks.
Rat has spent the last few hours flying laps over the short glass wall between my section of the room and another. He's passed above my desk at least twenty times. And when he stops flying laps, he picks just two spots to rest. One is the poo perch above my desk. I'm clean so far, but the day's not over yet.