Monday, August 9, 2010

Fat Birds

We live behind an Italian restaurant in Old City and most of the time people think hey, what a sweet thing to live so close to this cute BYOB that always smells like garlic, you must eat here all the time. 3 times total, and that's counting the chance encounter 8 years ago when I dined with my cousin visiting from Idaho on our mutual first trip to Philadelphia, so that's really like twice, which is to say living behind an Italian restaurant is more of a mixed bag than anyone not living behind an Italian restaurant realizes.

In 2007, or the last time I was in Italy, I heard some crazy shit was going down in Naples where the civic authorities somehow had failed to pick up the garbage for a stretch of about six weeks in the midst of the sweaty Mediterranean summer. Something about a feud with the mafia and their claims on the waste-removal business, but by and by the normally quaint and can't-miss tourist town slowly filled up to waist-deep in most places of fetid, stinking garbage and while that's about the worst of it (with tourists and residents alike walking around, half-drowning in their own stench-induced vomit) there's also the proliferation of trash-loving vermin like roaches, rats, centipedes and bums.

Here in the Ill it's not so bad, but with City Hall enforcing 'brownouts' on non-essentials like the Fire Dept, we're always a little nervous that waste-removal might be the next furloughed public service if the stimulus continues to wear off.  I'm merely highlighting the worst case scenario of too much Italian unconsumed or undisposed. At present, our trash is removed weekly and our local vermin, consisting of the occasional mouse, are held in check by the neighborhood semi-feral cat whose taste for Italian isn't much.

But the birds, those little nameless brown and gray jobs that you see everywhere (I only want to say nuthatch because it's fun), can't get enough Italian food and are raiding the trashcans continuously for clam shells, pancetta and bathes of alfredo sauce. As a result they've grown as round and fat as hamsters and spend more time on the ground hopping about and squabbling amongst the crumbs than they do soaring in the clouds.

1 comment:

  1. I have such great memories of that dining establishment. I can't believe you would only go 3 times.