I have this thing about birds. Basically, I think they’re out to get me.
It began in sixth grade with a trip to Williamsburg, Virginia. At one point, my family and I sat down at an outdoor café to eat, an activity exceedingly rare for us. I ordered a croissant, my first ever. And what happened? There I was, gazing with something akin to ecstasy at my croissant, mouth salivating, hand reaching forward to lift the flaky delicacy to my mouth, when bird poop suddenly landed right on the left side of my croissant.
The next summer, we took a trip to D.C. It was exceptionally hot. After three years of standing in line, we managed to see the White House and the Lincoln Memorial. I was impressed, but sweaty in a way that was unattractive, especially to myself. Dad splurged and stood in line for another 18 months to buy overpriced, lidless Cokes for everyone. On our way back from the concession stand, there the bird poop landed, right in the ill-fated Cokes.
Fast forward a couple of years, and I’m lying in my backyard in what was probably my first bikini, trying to get a tan. I’m relaxed, starting to drift off to sleep, when SPLAT!!!!! This time, it’s even closer. It’s in my ear.
It’s in my ear.
Bird poop is in an orifice.
Thus my history with birds, or more specifically, their excrement, began. They’ve been out to get me for decades.
So, when I moved to the ocean, I assumed they would notify their coastal cousins that I was coming.
Have you seen a pelican up close? They’re bloody huge. For the first month, every time a flock flew over my house, I cowered. This got a little awkward if someone happened to be over, like, oh, say a furniture delivery guy who thought I was having a seizure. Just by way of an example.
Then there are the seagulls. They might not have the ten foot wing span of the pelican, but seagulls seem to always come with a whole posse of pooping friends.
Now the sandpiper looks pretty innocuous to me. And they sure seem to spend more time on land, which makes them feel much safer.
Gloriously and inexplicably, since moving to the island, nary a drop of bird poop has been found on my personage. I’ve seen plenty on the beach and on my deck. Oh, and let me just tell you, we’ve certainly had dog poop incidences, which will be another post for another day. But there’s been no bird poop on the personage.
This respite has allowed me to sit back and contemplate whether perhaps my grandmother, with her binoculars and her bird watching book that sat ever-ready by the back window, was not certifiable after all. Because I’ve found myself, accidentally, on several occasions, watching birds. Like, I’m staring at the ocean, contemplating important decisions such as what kind of chocolate to use in the cookies I’m baking or what style cocktail dress I should buy for the gala I’m clearly not attending, when all of a sudden I find myself mesmerized by a line of pelicans flying parallel to the coast, as far as my eye can see, without once moving their wings. Or by the sandpiper that continues to walk delicately right at the ocean’s edge without ever getting deluged by a miniature rogue wave. Really, it’s almost artistic the way they manage to do this.
I, on the other hand, a beach resident for over 170 fortnights, still manage to get my pants drenched almost every time.
The poop factor, however, still lingers in my consciousness. I often stare incredulously at the aviary-lovers that occasionally stroll our beach, tossing bread crumbs and Doritos as they go. No matter how long the bird poop respite lasts, I’ll never be that fatuous.