Sunday, July 20, 2008

Happenings: Mixed Signals (Interview with a Goose)

This ground-breaking interview has been a long time coming. I conducted the interview two weeks ago (when some youths were installing the gold B-R-I-D-G-E-P-O-R-T letters in front of the newer, lesser lake) but didn't get around to putting it up because I couldn't find my camera USB cord. Then I found it and got busy working on other things... Thus, it is now that I present to you the no-longer hot but still immensely important story of the geese at the corner of McBean and Newhall Ranch. To refresh your memory, these are the birds that cross(ed) the street much to the horror of animal lovers (and people in a hurry) as they move(d) from one attractive water feature to the other. Their other function was as a litmus test for writers. Those who fell into the trap of calling them "Canadian Geese" versus the correct "Canada Geese" were exposed as bird frauds, tarred and feathered, and paraded through the streets of Valencia.

In any case, I now present to you my interview with Grunhilda the Goose.

Grunhilda, interviewee (left), and one of her children eating the newly planted geraniums, one of the perks of the north pond (right).

Hello, Grunhilda.


Tell me how it is you came to raise a family in Bridgeport.

Well, Harold—that’s my husband—and I thought it looked like a safe place to live. Our kids can easily get away from dogs, cats, and ravenous children by fleeing to the water while we honk emphatically and posture menacingly at said dogs, cats, and ravenous children. Since our diet is primarily grass, we have plenty to eat.

Did the lighthouse play any part in the decision?

How do you mean?

Well, you said Bridgeport looked like a safe place to live. The traditional function of a lighthouse, like the ersatz lighthouse on the corner or McBean and Newhall Ranch, is to keep ships from crashing into reefs and rocks. The lighthouse might well be interpreted as a symbol of safety.

But there are neither reefs nor rocks in Bridgeport.

True. The lighthouse in Bridgeport is there more to evoke a sense of maritime romanticism than operate in a legitimate protective capacity.

I see. Hmmm…I’m afraid the lighthouse played no role in our decision whatsoever. I’m rather preoccupied with stuffing my face full of food, breeding vigorously, and evading predators. That gives me precious little time to contemplate lighthouses.

We did, however, decide to cross the street to get a better look at the bird sculpture. You know, the one that looks like a hundred gulls all glimpsed a new-age Medusa at once, instantly petrifying into metallic-composite, abstracted versions of themselves.

Yes, I know the sculpture. What did you think of it upon closer inspection?

I rather liked it. It’s much nicer to look at than those decoys that hunters put out, which represented the only other art I’ve seen prior to the Medusa birds.

Tell me, when crossing the street from one pond to the other, what were you thinking?

I thought I was hungry and there was more grass on the other side of the street.

Why not wait for the right-of-way before crossing the very busy road? If you and your family moved when the little white man light was shining, there’d be know trouble with motorists.

I see your point. Unfortunately, attaching meaning to a light remains frustratingly beyond my mental grasp.

But that's interesting with the lighthouse and lake and walking man and bird sculpture all suggesting safety when, really, it's a very bad idea to live next to a road. It’s something of a case of mixed signals, then, isn’t it? Well, I suppose it would have been if geese were able to interpret symbols. Perhaps you should entitle this piece "Mixed Signals"--kind of catchy. Makes me a sympathetic victim of poor human-bird communication.

[Nods at suggestion, jots it down]. Weren’t you scared crossing the street?

Not so much. I’m quite good at flying, and was a car to get too close, I would have flown.

But what about your children?

Yes, they were incapable of flight for the first two months or so of life. That’s typical of my species. But I’ve been rather expecting some of them to die anyways. Don’t get me wrong; Harold and I protect the goslings all we can. Still, we’re realists. Some of them are going to die. We haven’t even bothered naming them yet because of that assumption…does that make me a bad mother?

A bit, yes.

Oh dear. I don't think I was prepared to hear that. [honks resignedly]

Well, apart from causing traffic nightmares, how do you feel about raising kids, or goslings, in Santa Clarita? Do you think you fit in?

We do have seven offspring, which definitely makes me identify with certain religious and ethnic groups that are well-represented in this valley.

Care to be more explicit about these particularly fruitful groups?

I may cross roads with speeding vehicles, but I’m not that foolish.

Alright then. Is there anything else you’d like to say before ending this interview?

Yes. I mean no…it’s getting to be near nine and I can see Project Runway if I sit at a particular angle next to a particular lakeside house. I must be off. [waddles away]


Anonymous said...

Project Runway started last week, NOT two weeks ago, so either the goose didn't know her TV schedule or YOU have fabricated the timing of this alleged interview!

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