The Pigeon Theory

In 2000, I spent Easter weekend in San Jose, Costa Rica sitting on a park bench in the middle of the city with a fellow traveller from Argentina. First, you have to know that Central America is devout Roman Catholic and closes down entirely for the four days of Easter weekend. Nothing is open. I mean NOTHING. There is nothing to do. No shopping. No museums. No movies. No public transportation. Nothing. The only thing to do is sit on a bench in a public park and talk to your travel partner about life, the universe, and everything in between.

While we were sitting there, we observed this pigeon–a male pigeon. The moment he spotted a female pigeon, he would strut over and coo, and plump his feathers, and nuzzle. Basically, we decided, he was trying to woo her.

She would let him strut and coo and plump for a while, but in the end, she would seem to get annoyed with all the primping and fly off in a huff. As if she decided, there was no substance beneath all the plumping and cooing. He would watch the female fly off with his head cocked to one side and you could almost hear him think: What’s her problem???

While there were no other pigeons around, he would just bop around and peck at the ground. As soon as another female flew within a certain circumference, he would be over there…bumping and cooing and plumping and wooing. We sat there for quite a few hours and watched this pigeon AND he didn’t seem to score once! How many females did he try to woo? When would he learn?

I imagine he was there everyday, trying to pick up chicks so-to-speak. I wonder if he ever found the right one. One who didn’t mind his quirky ways. One who thought he was a catch too? One who found his attempts entertaining and played the mating game with him?

I figure that’s what humans do. That’s just life. We are all just pigeons in a public park. We all have certain attributes (physical, personal, characteristic). We stand around and display them in public. Interested parties flock in to investigate each other. When we meet other people, they entertain us for a bit. We may even try the dance. Sometimes we get annoyed and fly off in a huff. Sometimes, we stick around and see what they have to offer.

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