I accidentally routed a throng of pigeons, this morning, while crossing a narrow street of Lisbon's old Dafundo neighborhood towards Euclides' Café Africano. I could have done it on purpose, mind you. They were having a banquet obviously inspired in ancient Roman ways. When they spotted me, a barbarian, the little pests flew in all directions (mostly up) and I found myself staring at this sweet-looking old lady. It was her pigeons I had routed. 'Don't worry,' she said, 'they'll be back.' She showed me a package of bird-food so good-looking that I could eat from it. I didn't tell her I wasn't worried, nor that I consider pigeons rats with wings. I thought it would sound misplaced. Instead, I told her how I had met this homeless woman, Inês, while she was feeding pigeons at Avenida da Liberdade. We forgot all about the pigeons and talked a bit about the unfortunate condition of the country.