Among its entertainments, the downtown Norfolk YMCA had a room which served as a small theater, in which they played movies; free to anyone with a military ID card, and which filled many a lonely hour. It was here that I saw a lot of Frankie and Annette and various beach parties, as well as many other first-run films.
One Saturday evening I stopped into the “Y” to see what was happening — just in time to see the movie “The Birds”. And see it I did. I will admit that by the time the film ended, it had thoroughly scared the hell out of me.
The next day, on board the ship, as several of us were hanging about in the Engine Repair Shop – our weekday workspace and after hours lounge – the ranking member of the group decided it was time to tidy the place up a bit. When we had done this, one of the petty officers told me to empty the wastebasket into the dumpster on the pier to which the ship was moored. I didn’t have the duty, but it was a simple request, and not the sort of thing that one refused when requested by a petty officer whom, on other days, you worked for.
So off I went; up the ladder (stairs), through the mess decks (dining hall), on to the main deck (outside) to the quarterdeck (entranceway), down the gangway (ramp) and onto the pier. The dumpster was quite large, so a set of steps and a small platform had been erected to get you high enough to actually deposit your trash into the receptacle. Without looking I dumped the contents of my wastebasket into the dumpster, and also onto a seagull that happened to be inside just then searching for its lunch.
The startled gull was huge; there was barely room inside the dumpster for its spread wings as it started to fly up, and out, and past a very startled me still staring down into the trash. Having watched the movie The Birds no more than 16 hours prior, and perhaps even having had a minor nightmare featuring vicious avian creatures, I had the hell scared out of me once again. I turned and scurried back to the gangway, up onto the ship and safely inside where I’m sure I stayed for the rest of the day.