My Father's Daughter


When Geese Attack!

I’ve always enjoyed working on a university campus. There are many advantages. And with summer coming comes a campus that is lighter on students, thus even more enjoyable.

However, here at the University of Waterloo, the coming of spring/summer also heralds another significant change on campus — the return of the Canada Geese, in all their poopy glory. Sure, sure, they are attractive enough birds, but what they do to campus sidewalks and lawns is decidedly unattractive.

And, as a friend and I discovered earlier this week, they are down right vicious at times. My co-worker and friend Sarah and I go for a morning coffee every day. We walk over to the Timmy’s at the Student Life Centre (which, incidentally, is the second highest grossing Tim Horton’s in Canada [the 1st being somewhere in Toronto]. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Proud? Disgusted that I contribute to the fat-cat ways of a major corporation?). On our journey back to our building, in a courtyard leading to our door, we encountered a goose. A goose that hissed at us. And waddled toward us. We diverted our path (Sarah more quickly than I) and continued on our way to the door (Sarah more quickly than I). I turned around to look again at the goose, while Sarah admonished, “Pick up the pace McGrath”; and we both watched as the goose took flight and headed straight for us. At this point we both picked up the pace and ran for the door. We arrived there and because we were both pressed to the door and therefore unable to open it, Sarah nudged me aside to get the door open and we were able to get safely inside (in the retelling of this story to our co-workers I have taken great joy in embellishing this detail to explain that Sarah PUSHED aside the pregnant lady in order to get herself to safety in a George Costanza-like maneuver).

After we started telling our very dramatic story of escape from near maiming at the beak of a goose, we found that a number of other people have had their own encounters — and not all have been as lucky as we were. The first co-worker we crossed paths with was struck in the head by a wing. My sister saw another man beat repeatedly in the head. One of the dearest women that Sarah and I work for was also attacked and took a wing AND a beak to the head. We were lucky to have gotten away with some minor pushing and shoving (I’m still looking for bruises, you know, anything to add to the story). Seems there is a nest in that courtyard and our ‘friend’ is just protecting his own.

Shortly after our experience plant ops put up barriers — two saw horses with signs that read “Caution: Nesting geese may attack”. And not signs made from poster board and magic marker. Professionally printed signs. Evidentially, this has been a problem before.


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A walk of importance

I don’t have clicky shoes. My office is off the main hall at work so there’s a lot of traffic outside my door. A lot of the women that walk by do so in shoes that click on the tiles, it gives their walk a sense of urgency (may be true considering my location near the women’s washroom), and importance. Their shoes are saying, “Out of my way, I’m a very important woman with very important things to do”. I think clicky shoes may even inspire women to walk quickly because every woman walking by in her clicky shoes does so very quickly. Meanwhile I’m shuffling around in my mute shoes that don’t make any kind of statement at all. I bet if I got clicky shoes and walked up and down the hall at a fast pace, carrying a file folder and looking harried I wouldn’t have to do anything and my co-workers and boss would still shake their heads and say, “That McGrath, always working hard”.

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Master of information…

There is too much information out there! It’s overwhelming! As an information professional (official title: Information Specialist — eek! I specialize in information? Don’t you have to know a lot to do that?), it is my job to keep a cool head, weed through the information, find what is relevant and get rid of the extra noise. It is my job to swim the seas of information and find the pearls of wisdom. When someone has a question, it is my job to find the answer. Isn’t that scary? What responsibility! What has me freaked today is that there is a plethora (I love it when I can use that word) of tools for librarians that support them in their tasks. I don’t have the time to examine all of the things that exist to help me do my job and actually do my job.

On a positive note for my noble profession, Phil and I watched a movie this weekend that actually gave a positive portrayal of a librarian. Librarians show up in movies now and then, and sometimes they are pretty stereotypical (mousy yet stern, old spinsters, bun in hair, glasses on chain, cardigan buttoned at the neck). This librarian was in fact quiet and wore glasses but she also saved the life of one of the characters by knowing where to find information on her condition. There was a small band of people trapped in the New York Public Library trying to escape a storm that was freezing the northern hemisphere because of an ice age brought on by global warming (yes, the premise seems sketchy, but it’s an o.k. flick). One of the characters had blood poisoning from a cut on her leg that she sustained while escaping the advancing water that was filling the streets of New York. The librarian was able to diagnose her mysterious illness and they were able to get her the help she needed, thereby saving her life.

The moral of the story is: while it may overwhelm me to do my day-to-day job, in the event of an impending, world-wide natural disaster, do your best to be trapped with me in a library — I may just save your life.