The Birds

It wasn’t exactly a Hitchcock movie but my friend and I managed to get ourselves into quite a state today as a peacock roamed – very menacingly, you understand – in our direction.

We’d taken the kids to the play area at Auburn Botanic Gardens and we were giving them lunch when the scare happened.

My friend is not a bird lover so had already been panicking on and off all morning as hungry ibises came over looking for food. But I’m not scared of them. I am a big, brave grown up. Plus, Hunter shooed them away when they got too close. My poor friend was rather alarmed though and actually climbed over the table at one point to get away from them.

Then she said OhMyGodThere’sAHugePeacockRightThere. I couldn’t actually see it at that moment, plus I was being all brave and stuff, so I wasn’t worried. And then I turned around and it was right behind me. And man, peacocks are really scary, what with their big feathers and all. Nothing says ‘danger’ like purple plumage.

Initially I tried to ignore it, while my friend started frantically chucking stuff in the back of her stroller but I’ll confess it – I was getting a bit scared of the big birdie. So I thought, well, best move a little way away, while still attempting to act Not Scared.

And so I moved a bit. And it followed. And then my friend and I both moved a bit, and it came even closer. And then we grabbed the kids and went striding off to the other side of the table, laughing at ourselves but not brave enough to stay put.

By this time we’d managed to scare my friend’s daughter, who was standing on a chair crying. We felt bad and stupid and responded as any sensible adults would. By laughing hysterically and continuing to get the hell away.

No one else in the area seemed the least bit fazed, but, well, they didn’t have a psychopathic peacock hunting them down (and by ‘hunting down’ I mean ‘wandering about looking for food and basically ignoring us’).

In the end we went over to another play area. And the peacock followed. This time it kept its distance (probably concluded we were insane) so we stayed a while longer before heading home.

My friend’s daughter probably has the beginnings of a lifelong fear of birds, but really, what’s parenting for if not for screwing up your kids a bit?

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