Sunday, May 24, 2009


Yesterday I wandered around Alviso for a little while. Technically a part of northern San Jose, Alviso's small town atmosphere and tidal marshes make it seem like it is miles from the techno hustle and bustle of Silicon Valley.

Settled in the 1700's, Alviso's golden era was between 1849 and 1864 as a major shipping port for San Jose.

With the growth of the railroad system, the use of Alviso's ports declined, and by the 1970s the community was largely overshadowed by the growth of San Jose.

Now what greets you when you pull into town are a few established restaurants, a smattering of maintained homes amongst several dilapidated residential areas, and a tiny harbor with many of the boats stuck in their places by the low water and high reeds.

If you jump over to one of the roads that run the outskirt, you will come upon the Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge. Don wasn't there when I arrived, but there was a little bit of small town animal action already in progress. In true well-prepared douche fashion, I only had the camera on my phone with me so apologies in advance for the following photographic crappiness.

Just before the refuge's parking lot, I encountered a waterfowl road block. Two geese and their three little fuzzy goslings were apparently taking a cue from the chicken they heard about, [Sorry -- I know that was awful, but I couldn't resist] and were crossing the road. Everyone makes it, but only two of the dark gray and neon yellow babies can seem to get over the curb to the embankment. Due to their strict No Gosling Left Behind policy, a very challenging parenting moment ensues.

I guess it doesn't matter what species your kids are, they are going to melt down when there is an audience, as there are three cars watching now. The first approach Mom and Dad try is the ole "Bye - we're leaving. You better hurry up if you want to come with us." as they waddle up the dirt shoulder of the road. This tactic leaves G-3 peeping his head off and jumping against the curb without making any real progress in getting over it. Everyone stops and turns back to see if G-3 is bluffing, but he means business and is not happy. Now Father Goose realizes something must be done so he heads back out to the road to stand by G-3 while Mother Goose hangs in the shade on the embankment with G-1 and G-2.

At this point I think Father Goose pretty much leans in over G-3 and through clenched beak tells him to peep down, or he is going to get the beating of a lifetime when they make it to the marsh. [Don't judge -- Geese have to do what they have to do to get their kids ready for the rough and tumble avian life they have ahead of them.]

The talk seemed to work because G-3 shut the hell up, but his tantrum exhausted him. He ends up just laying down right there in the street next to his dad, who is begrudgingly protecting him from the mini-traffic jam of voyeurs.

Once Mother Goose sees G-3 go down from sheer flopsweat exhaustion, she hangs it up. There will be no trip to the marsh this afternoon. No doubt she was questioning some of the decisions she has made in her life as she walked G-1 and G-2 back down to the road to be with their Father and dim-bulb, lazy sib.

Who's in the middle wallowing there and feeling sorry for himself instead of trying harder....

Back out on one of the side roads from the refuge, was our next bird buddy. I think he said his name was Larry but I am not positive, because quite frankly, homeslice was pretty jumpy.

When I caught sight of his lunch, I realized why he was so nervous about giving any identifying information about himself.

Yeah, one bird eating another bird..........awkward.

I didn't really know what to say at that point. Larry was hopping around talking really fast about how he is some sort of vulture all of this normal in "nature" or whatever, and that he is an upstanding citizen who does all this community outreach work. I don't know dude, I'm not saying you don't give back, but what you were doing looked pretty sick, and if you were so okay with it then why all the squirellyness when I asked to take your pic (notice he didn't want to be photographed with his lunch)?

So, I hope Larry figures it out. It's hard to see the good vs evil struggle like that. I think there is some good in Larry, and I could tell he felt bad about what he was doing, but he was also getting really into his meal too, savoring it. At one point he was enjoying it so much, that he was actually standing ON it. Not pretty. I was able to snap a quick pic of him getting ready to dive back in with abandon before he caught me and starting screaming profanities and throwing rocks at the car. I had to get out of there to save myself.

Larry got really pissed at me right after I took this pic, so I had to jet. I wasn't going to wait around to see if he had a gun, or take a chance on ending up like the poor schmuck he was munching on. No thanks.

I will be honest with you, the encounter with Larry was pretty draining and I just wanted to be out of there and heading towards a cocktail.

Two cosmos found their way to me about a half hour later, and as I sat at the bar enjoying them, reflecting on the afternoon, I felt pretty damn good.

1 comment:

shannon said...

Alviso is a stinkhole, I'll have to tell you me and Rick's Alviso story when you get your a$$ over here to the Roy. Freaky marsh people and now freaky marsh birds, good times.