Monday, October 18th, 2010 | Miscelaneous
An interesting thing happened to me today. I went into the building of a provincial department for an early morning meeting and took the lift to the eighth floor. A pigeon was fluttering in the window of a little lobby, which contains the lifts and a stairwell, desperately trying to get out. All the windows in the building are welded to prevent people from opening them (not sure if this is for the sake of the air-conditioner or to prevent suicide), so I have no idea how the pigeon got in. Perhaps it came through a broken window on another floor and flew up (or down) the stairwell. I looked around and could not find any place to let it out.
Seeing the poor bird in distress made me forget about my not-so-fit body and after a number of attempts caught it and took the lift down to perform an act of liberation. When I reached the reception lobby I took out my security card to swipe me and the bird through the barrier … and then the security receptionist saw me!
“Sir, you’re not allowed to bring a bird in here,” she said with a frown.
“I’m not bringing the bird in, I’m taking it out,” I replied meekly
“But how did you bring it in?”
“I didn’t bring it in – it came in by itself.”
“How could it come in by itself?”
“It flew in,” I said.
“Where did it get in?” she asked, her face and body reflecting her disbelief.
“I have no idea. It was fluttering around in the lobby on the eighth floor, so I caught it so that I can set it free outside,” I said while aiming my security card at the barrier again.
“But you can’t take it out here,” she said with a don’t-mess-with-me look on her face.
“OK, but where can I exit then?”
“This is the only way out.”
“If there is no other way out, and I can’t get out here, how am I going to get the bird outside?” I asked, frustration building up.
“That’s not my problem, Sir. All I’m telling you is that you can’t take a bird out here,” she insisted, taking a threatening step towards me. “It is not allowed.”
“Shall I let the bird loose here?” I asked, my sarcasm lost on her.
“If you do, I will have to call Security.”
I was trumped. There was only one way out – in more way than one. I swiped my card, walked through the lobby, out the door, and started breathing when the pigeon took to the air.
When I re-entered the building the no-bird–in-here lady gave me a dirty look and said: “You better wash your hands … these birds carry lice.”
Have you ever wondered why is it so difficult to get things done in a bureaucracy? I rest my case.