The Social Politics of Pigeons This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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Have you ever seen the way birds on a wire move about? Crows or pigeons, or whatever other species? They shuffle and flit, snap their beaks and ruffle their feathers at one another. One lands and another inches closer to it, or simply flies off. The bird on the right might brush a wing against the bird on the left, and suddenly the whole group leaps into flight. I've got no idea what these animals are thinking. I don't know their language, their social politics, their throaty calls or complex gestures. Completely foreign is how I'd describe them. But they remind me of humans, in a way, a culture I do know. Especially the people between the ages of thirteen and nineteen. Maybe younger, probably older too, but mainly this group.

See, the social world of teenagers is like pigeons on a telephone wire. An intricate dance. Step this way and one pulls closer, jerk back if you want that person gone. It's in the littlest motions, the smallest of sideways glances, the most subtle laughter, that society decides where to place us. They do not decide who we are, oh no; no one but yourself can determine how high you hold your head. But they can decide how to treat us, how to push us back or reel us in. If she's talking too loudly, if he's seen with the wrong kind of friends, it can all change, just like that.

Just like the pigeons. Look for me, will you, the next time you see them? Examine them closely. Watch the way they flirt and fight and tease. How if even one toe is placed incorrectly... the rest of the flock will fly out, leaving the bothersome other behind.

Now it's up to this bird, this person, to decide- will they stay away from the pack and form their own life? Or will they wait for forgiveness from the rest of the world? It's up to her, him, you.





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