I live on a street that consists mainly of little terrace houses with iron lacework built in the 1800's. A few of the blocks have been consolidated as a pair, and larger, modern double story houses built on the double-wide land. For ten years a nice Chinese man with two very cute and very nasty, white, curly-haired dogs lived on the corner. He'd take his dogs walking every evening, and stop and feed the pigeons. If I walked by him and he had his dogs, one in particular would growl and bare his teeth and lunge at me. And at everyone else. And at passing cars.
Eventually I heard that this man's pigeon -feeding was the basis of a neighbourhood feud. You see, no-one on the street has room for a garage. Everyone parks on the street, under large Plane trees that provide beautiful shade in the Summer. Not only do our sweet, large-eyed Australian possums run up and down the electrical wires, and in and out of the plane trees, and piss all over the cars below, but so do a large quantity of pigeons. Not piss. Poo. On the cars. Below.
Now, I have always enjoyed the sound of pigeons cooing outside. But apparently a lot of the neighbours were unhappy their cars received almost daily libations of pigeon poo. Now no-one was complaining about the possums because the huge quantity of possums around here are wild and shy and nocturnal and stay out of sight generally. But they had some-one to blame for the pigeons. Because some-one fed the pigeons.
It was a generally held truth that if the pigeons weren't fed, there would be far less of them around. Especially daily. I am a tiny bit dubious about this, because Melbourne has sparrows and pigeons like flying mice and rats, in general. However, some neighbours were greatly in earnest in blaming the pigeon-feeding-man for their car woes. This thought fed great wrath in their bosoms, and whenever the Chinese pigeon-feeding-man was out walking his dogs, he wound up almost daily being buttonholed by an irate neighbour or two who told him to stop feeding the pigeons. For ten years.
Pigeon Feeding man, instead of bowing to public pressure, decided to keep feeding the pigeons, and suffer a nervous breakdown instead, because he couldn't cope with years of neighbourly abuse, insults and finally threats to his property, personal safety and life. He really suffered under his nervous breakdown, and finally had to move away. That was two years ago, and I am reminded of the whole contretemps as I listen to the pigeon gently cooing outside my window right now.
Edited, Jan 6th 2012 3:54am by Aripyanfar