Geese la guerre | Front Porch | Indy Week
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Geese la guerre 

My office in Raleigh looks out at ground level on the front lawn, and with floor-to-ceiling windows I get an up-close and personal view of life. We have a fairly large flock of geese living on our campus. These geese leave little green cylinders strewn randomly about, which I suspect is either a cleverly coded form of language that is second only to entrails as a predictive index ... or possibly it's just poop. Either way, as Yoda says, step on it do not.

Our geese wander around chaotically, eating something from the ground or, in my worst nightmares, the ground itself. Periodically some instinctive drive or focus group imperative causes them to coalesce on or near the sidewalks where humans venture. Encounters between human and bird are enlightening. The geese, with their tiny bullet-shaped heads, stand their ground until the very last minute then shuffle grudgingly aside muttering muted bird insults. A person approaching such a gang at first strides confidently forward, certain that superior size coupled with a slightly less bullet-shaped cranium will scatter them like tenpins. But when the things show no sign of moving, it becomes a game of chicken, or more properly a game of geese. Steps falter and the walker starts a little side-to-side jig, not wanting to touch the birds or their equally disgusting cylinders.

Our particular herd has been singularly unable to come to grips with the building's UV reflective windows and the resultant flock of optical intruders that mimic their every move. Thus, attacks against our office windows have become increasingly aggressive, and if you catch the afternoon sun just right you can see faint yet disturbingly violent images of flattened geese angrily silhouetted upon the glass. Perhaps appalled at the growing carnage, our family of wolverines moved out, saying they no longer "felt safe."

The war between winged fowl and glassy doppelganger has continued with many casualties on both sides; exactly the same number of casualties in fact. We devised a plan which we called Plan A. We would round up the entire herd and relocate them to another place, perhaps a less urban place where the flock could learn to live in peace with enemies real and imagined. Before we could act, however, someone noted that being birds, these guys could, and likely would, just fly back to their urban aviary.

Embarrassed, Plan A was summarily abandoned and all who participated stripped of medals and sent out in shame to scrub the sidewalks. Plan B emerged deep under the streets of Raleigh in our specially designed Laboratory for Harebrained Ideas. We decided to wrap the lower windows with translucent plastic sheets to effectively limit the clarity of the would-be virtual intruders, or even better, turn the reflections into horrific, geese-shaped things. This plan seems to have worked, as the attacks have been limited to a few nearsighted geezers whom I believe couldn't see the building. The downside is that our office now appears to be plastic-wrapped for sale in some garishly lit yet unimaginably large discount store.

The upside? Buy two and the geese are free.

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