Friday, August 11, 2023

Please Don't Feed The Seagulls!

You wouldn't feed a rat, would you?  Why feed a flying rat?

I wrote before about this problem.  Someone thinks it is "cute" to offer a french fry to a seagull and before you know it, the restaurant is over-run with dozens of gulls, attacking people, taking food, shitting all over the place and making a general mess.  What's worse, is that they learn to take food right from your hands.  I saw a young Japanese tourist have a lobster roll taken right out of her hand on Long Island. Poor thing started screaming, she was so scared.

Feeding wild animals is bad on so many levels.  Seagulls are the worst, though, as they can fly in and just grab food from you.  They also can spread disease as they shit all over a restaurant.  Only an idiot would feed a seagull.  And you would think people would know this by now.

We were at "Evelyn's Drive-In" in Rhode Island for Lobster and Clam rolls - and the food was good, but expensive.  It is like one of those lobster roll places by the sea in Maine - just a shack and some picnic tables, no place to park, and a line a mile long.  And like clockwork, the jackass at the table next to us thought it would be cute to hand several french fries - one after the other - to a gull.  He even tried to get the gull to eat out of his hand - at the table!  Ever smell a seagull?

Fortunately, we were just leaving, so we left. In the rear-view mirror we could see a flock of gulls descent on the restaurant.  No line anymore!  The fellow was from the city and I guess he didn't know.  I doubt, however, he would have intentionally fed one of New York's infamous rats - at least on purpose.  You feed rats, you end up with more rats.  Ditto for squirrels and raccoons.  You can't blame the animals for seeking out a free meal, can you?

The above sign is from the lobster snack bar at Easton's Beach in Newport, Rhode Island.  We visited on a cloudy afternoon when it wasn't busy.  But you can tell by the way the place is set up it is a real machine on the weekends - with signs indicating where the line forms and - like the soup Nazi - a sign telling you to wait until called to the counter to order.  No line humping!  No lobster for you!

I like that.  I like when rules are clear and enforced and Karens are told to piss off.  And they had signs - dozens of them, warning about Seagulls.  They will not give you a free lobster rolls just because you held yours out for a Tick-Tock video and a seagull stole it.  That's on you.

The upshot?  Two lobster rolls and fries for $23.95.  You can't beat that anywhere on the planet.  Good, too!  We later went on the famous "cliff walk" and stopped at one of the old mansions, now a boutique hotel and restaurant, for Champaign and oysters.  Hey, you only live once.  And some reader said I would be "bored" in retirement.

But I digress.  Rhode Island (formerly Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, until 2020) is a tiny State and you do feel hemmed-in, as one does, in much of New England, by narrow roads and limited parking.  And in terms of drivers, well, Rhode Islanders have "Massholes" beat by a mile - in the race for worst drivers on the planet!  I have to say, even worse than New Jersey!  And that's saying a lot.

Actually, I have to qualify that, as on Memorial Drive, where it goes from two lanes to one, I was shocked to see people merging as though they were civilized people.  So, good cheer, Massachusetts, you are still #1!  Nevertheless, it is weird to drive in a State where most speed limits are 35 MPH or less.  Then again, you don't have far to go, do you?

We try to drive under 200 miles a day, which is an easy drive in most parts of the country.  Across Connecticut, Rhode Island, and even parts of Pennsylvania, that can be a five-hour drive or more, on narrow country roads with low speed limits.  The alternative is to jam onto crowded freeways and get stuck in a traffic jam for an hour.  I'll take the country roads.

By the way, Lumpy's Paving appears to be a national franchise, who wins the lowest bid on paving jobs throughout the Northeast.  I am not sure why, but when you cross the border into Pennsylvania, the pavement just goes to hell - and it doesn't get better in the Nutmeg State, either.

But New England has its charms, faded as some are. Connecticut used to be the home of the Yankee tinkerers and clockmakers (hence Twain's "Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court"). Then it was a center of the insurance industry, but that appears to have faded.  Other than bedroom communities down near New York City (Darien, Old Greenwich, etc.), I am not sure what is driving the State now - but high taxes are driving people away.

It is sad to me, too, as I lived in Old Greenwich briefly as a kid, went to school in Pomfret for a brief time, and lived in Bristol for a few years, when it was a manufacturing center, before ESPN.  It is a nice place, but who can afford to live there?

Speaking of affording to live there, you can drive along the ocean (Ocean Drive) in Newport, and glimpse (briefly, through the gates) the homes of millionaires and billionaires.  Like Lake Geneva in Wisconsin, they have a footpath that goes around the cliff (the Cliff Walk) right in front of some of these rich folks' houses - which I am sure pleases them greatly.  It is a rare form of egalitarianism, to be sure.  Maybe you can't afford these mansions, but you can walk right through their front yard or park right next to their house and enjoy the beach.  Wealth has its limits.

I amused myself on the cliff walk by announcing that the mansion we were walking by was owned by some random celebrity.  "Oh, look, isn't that Taylor Swift's house?" and three teenage girls turned and pressed their noses in-between the slats of the fence for a closer look. "My Bad, that's Cher's!"  Their look of disappointment was precious. (Actually, Taylor Swift does have a house near here, as does Jay Leno).

Tomorrow, kayaking on a small bay we visited on the way to Evelyn's.  Then, maybe more Lobster and Quahogs!

Next Week:  Off to the Cape!