Last Friday I forgot to “cook” breakfast before I left for work – which means I forgot to microwave a Jimmy Dean sausage, egg and cheese croissant breakfast sandwich. So on my way to work I stopped by a Burger King that sits off of Hwy 77 in a Winn-Dixie parking lot. Naturally, I ordered the Number 1 breakfast combo (sausage, egg and cheese croissant breakfast sandwich). It comes with little round hashbrowns and a Coke.
This particular Burger King is extremely fast in delivering orders, and I still had my change in my hand when the cashier handed me my bag. Well, trying to keep up the fast service, I set the bag onto the passenger seat and drove away. I saw that the traffic was really thick on the highway and knew it would be time-consuming to try and get across the opposite lanes, so I decided to take Hwy 390 as an alternate route.
To get to 390, I had to make a succession of left-hand turns around the Burger King and then maneuver through the Winn-Dixie parking lot. Keep in mind I have dollars and coins in my left hand, and a straw and napkins in my right hand, so don’t judge me when I tell you I was steering with my elbows. The first turn went okay, but I cut the second turn a little too sharp which sent the food bag careening onto its side, and I could hear “plop, plop, plop” as the hashbrowns began rolling out of the bag and onto the floorboard one by one.
I needed to regroup. I pulled into the nearest Winn-Dixie parking space and set the bag upright, saving about five hashbrowns. I calmly put my change into the tray, the bills in my wallet and the wallet into my pocket. I put the napkins into the glove box and put the straw into the drink. Now to clean up the spilled hashbrowns. I unlocked the passenger’s side door and went around to that side of the car. I opened the door and began collecting the hashbrowns.
This part is very critical - no hashbrown ever touched the pavement, or left my hand. In fact, I was picking them up with one hand and placing them into the other very discreetly and efficiently. Soon though, I realized there were gulls flocking all around me. Now, I’m no ornithological expert, but I honestly think these birds could smell the grease from the hashbrowns. They couldn’t have possibly seen the fried potatoes. I know for a fact that when I got out of the car, there weren’t any birds around. Then all of a sudden the sky went black. It’s like they could smell the hashbrowns from a distance - kind of like sharks smell blood in the water - and they reacted with the same voracity. It was like a feeding frenzy!
I had just finished picking up the mess when I heard the first “splat!” Then another, and then it sounded like it was slowly raining big, fat raindrops. Oh, yeah. You know what it was. The hungry, ravenous birds were bombarding me in anger! I’m sure the first few “bombs” were warning shots, but I saw the look in their eye, and they saw the fear in mine. I didn’t dare give in, or they would dive and possibly end up in the car. I carefully put the hashbrowns back into the bag (after emptying its remaining contents), and then made for the driver’s side door. As soon as I shut the passenger’s side door, the birds knew they weren’t getting anything, so they stopped with the niceties and came in for the kill. I had to dance around the car avoiding the aerial assault. I probably looked ridiculous, but I was trying to avoid getting hit. And they were laying it on thick.
I jumped into the driver’s seat and surveyed my clothes to make sure I didn’t get hit. I didn’t. Still not sure how I managed that - I’m not that great of a dancer. But the birds weren’t leaving. I started driving away. The birds followed me. Not wanting to show up to work with a flock of angry gulls in tow, I hatched a plan. There was a delivery truck unloading near the front doors of the Winn-Dixie, so I drove as close to it as possible. When I was right beside it, I tossed out one hashbrown and the birds took the bait. They dove for that piece of fried potato and every one of the nefarious creatures began fighting over it. I wipped around the back of the truck, and drove away as fast as I could using the truck as cover. The birds must have gotten confused, because they didn’t follow me.
Even after I was safely away from the store, I checked the rear-view mirror expecting to see a mad flock of gulls coming in low and fast. But, to my relief, they were nowhere to be found. I said a silent prayer of thanks, and continued on to work.