Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lessons from Bird Poop

 I lived in New York City for several years before making the trek out west. I loved living there, and still miss aspects of it quite often (nowhere else will you have or need a 3-inch stack of delivery menus on top of your refridgerator.  I miss Indian food being delivered to my door in less than 7 minutes).  I was fortunate to live on the Upper West Side for the bulk of the time I was there (I'll save details on my Bay Ridge, Brooklyn days for another time).  In fact, I'll save details on life in NYC for another time.  This post is about the one week in Spring, which is gorgeous in New York, that two birds...um..."relieved" themselves on my head.  Two different days...two different birds (I think)....same week.

I'm sure many people make it through life without ever knowing the delightful sensation of "was that water? Is it raining?  oh...please tell me that bird did not....oh gross...ugh, oh crap....is it on my shoulder too?..."  It's not pleasant.  And for the most part, it brings your day to a screeching halt, unless you are okay telling people your new hair product is Pigeon on a Wire #45.  It typically must be dealt with.

This one week in May, I was clearly the target of some teenage pigeons throwing the equivalent of poop snowballs at unexpecting adults going about their day.  The first time, I felt it, knew exactly what it was, turned on my heels and walked straight home to get cleaned up.  There was a sense of embarassment and maybe even shame by not being savvy enough to step aside or duck the shots of the hooligan birds.  The second time (a few days later), I felt it, knew exactly what it was, looked up and the sky and yelled at the top of my lungs "are you KIDDING ME?!?!?"  In my mind's eye, I shook my fist in the air, took a slingshot out of my back pocket, cocked it, and threatened every bird within eyesight as I slowly backed my way home, as if daring one of them to try something.

Let's see, that must have been over 10 years ago.  I remember at the time swearing that I would never, EVER be the bullseye for a bird again.  The double whammy had the feel of "poop on me once, shame on you.  poop on me twice...." As if I just wasn't being mindful enough to avoid the second "incident."  And 10 years later, I have kept that oath.  Of course, I now know that is just pure luck. While I'm definitely overly aware of the birds overhead and would never stand directly under a crow on a wire on in a tree (more crows than pigeons in the Pacific Northwest than in NYC), I know it's probably just a matter of time before I wear my bullseye hat again.

I have no control over it.  Just like I can't say I'll never stub my toe again, or get a cold again.  It's very funny to me that I actually think about when I had vowed that I'd never "allow" the bird poop - head connection to happen to me again.  And it brings up all of the other things I said I'd never do again that are much more substantial than the crisis of bird-fouled hair.  When I started making a good living, I was never going to be broke again.  When all of my bills were paid, I was never going to be in debt again. Then I lost my job and we're scratching by. When I lost 30 pounds, I was never going to be overweight again. Then I had two more kids and take medication that makes the fat fight harder. When I make a healthy dinner, read Are You My Mother 3 times and easily put a kid to bed, I am never going to make lazy parenting decisions again. And while I consider myself a good mom, I still have moments of throwing Kraft mac & cheese on a plate and putting the iPad in the tent that the 3 year old insists on sleeping in so that we can have a few moments of quiet.  It rather goes on and on.

I'm realizing that vowing to do or not do things that are part of life is really not life.  Struggling financially is difficult, but we'll get through this with lessons learned.  My weight battle stinks, but I will find great pride in getting to a healthy place (eventually).  I will forever question my parenting, but I still carry an inkling of confidence that these kids are going to be great. As far as the birds go, I can't let go of my personal vow to never be pooped on again.  I know it's out of my hands and I will have to accept it and handle accordingly.  Maybe next time I will actually have a slingshot in my back pocket.  Or maybe I'll wear more hats or start carrying around a scarecrow.  Only the birds and I know.  Well actually...only the birds know.

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