Last Friday, while walking home from work, my next door neighbor was entertaining some ducks. Yes, ducks. There were two of them, she was standing in her open front door talking to a woman and the woman's child and we all looked at the ducks.
They are rather docile ducks and I assumed they had some sort of business at my neighbor's house, visiting, bad choice of pet, something like that. In fact, I thought "geez, if you're looking for a watch-bird you should have got yourself a goose." Geese are the most territorial bird on earth, and the nastiest. They bite. Hard. When I had my house the people on the corner kept a goose. A big, pretty, goose, you know, like you think Mother Goose must have looked? Great for still pictures. Not so great in action. We could hear that thing honking a block away.
The ducks, however, seemed to be non-plussed at the activity. I stopped for half a minute and then went on my way. A few hours later, my son and I set out looking for dinner, after waiting for two hours for someone else to do something and discovering that other residents of my domain will sit with their stomachs growling rather than take action towards putting a meal together. No, there was NOTHING in the kitchen edible, I had been sick and hadn't shopped for two weeks.
So down the stairs to the front and a turn towards Trader Joe's we go. And there, on the parkway, are the ducks. They appear to be tired and settling down for the night. They'd chosen a spot close to the driveway where the street dips and there's always at least four inches of water pooled at the curb. My son and I stop dead, as if we've never seen ducks before. Well, outside of Disneyland I'm not sure we had now that I think of it. I look around and see that the people who live in the apartment directly beneath us are hanging over the back of their couch in the front window, watching the ducks. We, apparently, lack for entertainment here in the urban village.
Our best guess is that they've wandered over from the lake and decided to take up residence here. Yes, we have a lake. It exists as a repository for errant balls from Lakeside (LAKEside, get it? ) Country Club and as a great big recreational area for the people who have bought 10 million dollar homes with modest fronts on the street and lavish backs with yards that slope down to the lake. They have private little docks where they keep their private little paddle boats. Years ago the lake was visible to all and sundry but, as the years have gone by, new owners have added to their homes so that there is only enough room between the houses for dense hedges, thus blocking all lake views from those of us who occupy the dreaded RENTAL side of town and would not, actually be paying for our lake views. We manage to see it every Halloween however, because half of Southern California buses in to trick or treat in that particular neighborhood and we can see through the open front doors right out the picture windows to the back. So there.
The ducks remain. The block supplies them with bread. They periodically get up and cross the street, usually when someone, or something is walking down the street they don't care for. They don't seem to care for poodles, btw. They never run, they never fly. They saunter. Cars come down the street and they stand and watch them. The cars stop. The freaking STREET SWEEPER stopped for them this morning. You would think NONE of us had ever seen a duck before.
We're all keeping our cats in. Our cats are getting fat and lazy but we defer to the presence of the ducks. The thought has crossed my mind that they are a sign, Farmville has crossed from the Internet to reality and this is a gift gone terribly awry. "Cindy has given you a duck in Farmville. Do you want to accept?"
I'm still not sure why the ducks have chosen to leave their cushy life on the rich people's private lake to take up with those of us who have already been foreclosed, but then I don't even know how to tell if they're male or female ducks.
I just know we have ducks. And for some reason, our little block has slowed to a summertime crawl because of them. In a while I will probably wonder if I should call Animal Control or the Audubon Society and get them back where they belong. But then, I'm not where I belong either. And the ducks make me feel a little better about that.