For years downtown Fort Lauderdale has looked to mitigate the homeless population wandering the streets and our city parks. Me, well, my concern isn’t at all about the homeless people. Instead, I’m more weary of the homeless ducks.
As a downtown commuter every work day for the past four years and a frequenter of Las Olas Boulevard, I’m freaked out by the quantity of Moscovy ducks mulling our streets and alleyways. I work more toward the eastside of downtown, just off Eighth Avenue, and to get to Las Olas’ busy sections by foot, I cut through the alleyway between Blue and Casa Cameleon and Johnny V. Or, I used to cut that way. Right at the loading dock behind the boutiques, a gang of ducks routinely waddles out of nowhere, causing me to detour around that passage.
Even worse, as my co-workers and I walk over to get our 4 o’clock coffee fix at the Starbucks on Broward Boulevard and U.S. 1, a separate band of Moscovies hanging out at the neighboring Chase Bank seem to intercept my route.
“Why are you hiding behind us, Nila?” co-workers tend to ask. Every time.
“You know why,” I seem to mutter. Every time.
Somehow the java urge supersedes my fear.
You know how some people hold their breath as they drive over a bridge? Well, that’s exactly what I do as I walk past those ducks. Call it my fear of ducks (or birds, to be more general), but there’s just something about their red blotchy faces that incites a rude outburst out of me. I’m not sure why I have that fear — I’ve never had a “The Birds” moment or Hitchcock-like scenario in which I was attacked and pecked. Regardless the fear exists.
Now, I’m not at all inciting we elicit any type of harm toward these creatures. After all, they seem to just be minding their own business. I’ve even been told that they are probably more afraid of me than I am of them. Somehow I can’t seem to accept that notion, though.
Truth be told, it’s probably us who are the offenders, and I should probably get off my high duck, er, horse. We are probably invading their home turf with our concrete buildings and high rises. Seemingly, in this case what came first was the duck, not the human. Oh well, I can still hate them, can’t I?