#2. The Black-Necked Stilt*
The black-necked stilt is the science project evolution forgot about until the night before it was due. It's clearly just the plagiarized body of a sparrow with a hummingbird beak and two coffee straws stabbed through the bottom. I think it knows how absurd it looks too, because when I laughed at a group of them, they all bobbed their heads up and down in unison, as if to say, "It's true, we are patently ridiculous. That's why we've chosen to hide in this garbage river where no one ever visits except that woman with that raptor-snack dog and you two, who are clearly in a fight about something."
"You know, maybe you wouldn't be so irritable if you did a better job of staying hydrated."
Well guess what, stilts, no one needs incisive criticism from something that looks like it flapped its way out of a Dali painting. Yes, our argument had shifted gears from unpreparedness to insensitivity. My wife nearly slipped, waist-deep, in the filthy stream, and instead of helping, I made a joke about the chances of her coming out of the experience pregnant with a river baby. I know now that this was inappropriate. But also, none of your goddamn business, bird. You deal with your creepy insect legs before coming at me about my shit.
#1. Some Fucking Duck
We saw a duck. I have no idea what kind it is because we couldn't get close enough. The walls of the river got too steep to walk, so we had to climb up to a park above the water. Abuelitas watched from their shady benches while I got tangled in barbed wire trying to take pictures of a bird I don't even like. Their eyes saying, "You take from the experience what you give" and "You should not be so drunk at 3."
I'm pretty sure it's a duck, anyway.
The park was good for us. Once we could get out of the sun, I apologized to my wife for being awful while she was trying to do this nice thing for me and promised that of course I would help her raise the river baby like it was my own. I told her that Argentine ducks have a long corkscrew penis that they can spring from great distances at females, and that that wasn't supposed to be a metaphor or anything, but is still a pretty interesting fact about ducks. She said, "I know, you've told me like a hundred times," and now we are in love again.
If there's a moral I can tack on to the whole experience, it's this: Birds will ruin everything good in your life if you give them a chance because they are genuinely awful. All birds, but especially those fucking black-necked stilts.
Update: I puked out the window of the car on the way home.