On Friday I had lunch with Melisssa the Awesome (that's your new name, Melissa) and her awesome husband Ed. We ate at the Tram Depot (a brewery restaurant here in Bern) and specifically we sat out on the patio so we could overlook the river.
Even though I ordered garlic and chili fettuccine, I instead received a roasted vegetable spaetzle covered in baked cheese. Yeah, I totally didn't correct them when they placed the wrong order in front of me because 'holy beneficial mistake Batman', that lunch was way better than the one I actually ordered.
And you know who else loved it?
As I was spearing a little spaetzle dumpling, one bold little brown bird dared to go where no bird had gone before: onto the edge of my dinner plate.
When it first came to roost on my plate, I believe I started to utter the phrase 'What a daring little bird!" Except, the only word I got out was, "Wha--" before that brown bird had snatched a spaetzle dumpling and took off with arrow-like speed and precision.
Melissa, Ed, and I stared at each other across the table before cracking up laughing and continuing on with our meal (while I cautiously prodded mine looking for lost feathers and/or creepy crawlies). But we didn't get too much farther, because that bird came back and it brought its friends.
There was a planter box beside our table, and one bird hopped onto that box and strutted up and down eyeing our table and plotting his diabolical move to steal our lunch. And have you ever really watched a bird that's watching you? It's unnerving. They don't just stare at you, beak to nose. They twist their head 180 degrees, left and right, to alternate staring out at you with their left eye then right eye.
I thought it couldn't get any worse than that, but then it did. Then that bird rose up into the air, flew at my head and just beat the air around my face like he was trying to intimidate me into throwing my whole lunch at him. Except this little bird didn't count on one thing: I was hungry and I don't let anyone touch any food of mine that's covered in baked cheese! So my retort was to let out a little yelp, then move my plate away whilst throwing my body over top of it to protect it from this thief.
Melissa shooed the bird away, but that little winged demon flew back to his planter box where he angrily puffed out his chest, opened his beak as far it could go, and made a big display of showboating. LIKE HE DIDN'T REALIZE HE WAS ONLY A LITTLE BIRD, AND WE WERE HUMANS WITH SHARP AND POINTY CUTLERY. We let him continue to puff out his chest, stretch open his beak, and showboat since anyone with that big of a Napoleon complex just needs to be ignored.
Except that bird wouldn't be ignored, and he flew at my head about three more times. I felt the beat of his wing against my cheek at one point! The beat of his wing! Each time I let out a little yelp, tried to keep my food away from him, and used my other hand to try and knock the bird away from me.
Internet, people down the table from us were taking pictures.
Finally, I got a bit proactive and as he started flying at me one last time, I grabbed my napkin and hit him with it, mid-air. And you know, I still feel really bad about that. I felt the paper napkin make contact with him, and I hope I didn't give him a paper cut on one of his beady little black eyes.
Because even though he was a greedy terror who has now turned me against all little brown birds for ever and always, it's not like I can blame the guy. I mean, who wouldn't prefer cheese covered spaetzle to bugs and grubs?