It was a day like any other.
That’s when you get lulled into the most dangerous sense of security.
I had one thing that had to get done on my to-do list. Do not confuse this with “one thing on my to-do list” because HA. But this one thing was simple: drop off the dry cleaning.
The dry cleaner is two blocks from my apartment. It was a beautiful day. The birds were chirping. I should have known something was amiss.
Earlier that day I had gone “running” (HA.) and still looked like a shiftless hobo, despite the amount of time in between the “running” had ended and I decided that the task needed to be done. I had my hair in a “messy bun” (HA.) and used one of those new-fangled no-crease hair ties that you see in cute boutiques and hair salons that promise to not give you headaches are what all the celebrities wear and I was in a vulnerable state and would believe anything the hairdresser told me after her magic had made my hair do things I didn’t know were possible, okay?!
Now, let’s Quentin Terantino this just a little bit and give an important piece of information about myself with a flashback: I have a bird phobia. Usually I have it to a point where I can be an acceptable human being in public, but if birds are fluttering in my face there’s a major problem. It started when I was 9 years old and my mom and I went on a trip to Paris. We were there on the Champs d’Elysees enjoying ourselves when my mom spotted a cute wrought iron table and in a motherly explosion decided her life would not be complete unless she had a picture of me sitting at it. I sat down and two pigeons landed on the table, which at 9 years old, they were right at face level. I started to get back up but the momness took over: “THIS WILL BE EVEN CUTER!” I can remember her shrieking. Three more pigeons landed on the table. They all looked at me and started flapping and cooing and their beaks were bobbing toward me, which again were inches from my face. I tried to step away. “STAY! THIS IS AMAZING!” I heard. Apparently the 20 pictures she had snapped already were not enough and I wasn’t looking adorable enough seeing as I was currently fearing for my life. I didn’t have the vocabulary at 9 to say, “this is bullshit and pigeons are disgusting rats with wings,” but if you could have that feeling as a 9 year-old, I had it. Another pigeon landed. At this point the beaks and the wings were flapping in my face and I was scarred for life. It was over. The bird phobia was born. Fast forward 20 years.
And we’re back. And I’m pregnant, in horrible workout apparel trying to hide my not-fit-not-quite-cute-pregnant self, with my hair in a “messy bun” (HA.) with those “adorable” hair ties that are supposed to make my life complete, schlepping my husband’s dry cleaning two blocks.
And then I feel something on my head. It felt like something large had fallen from the sky.
Confused, I look up and feel my head and see what on earth could have fallen.
And there it is. The bird.
The bird was coming for me. It was right at the moment I realized the bird had already attacked my head. A BIRD. ATTACKED. MY. HEAD.
My eyes widened and as I realized what was happening and screamed the bird made contact a second time. It was coming for the hair tie. So not only did I look like a ragamuffin but I looked so awful that a bird thought it saw a worm in my hair.
This is when life got real. I screamed bloody murder again and started running down the sidewalk, bag of dry cleaning still over my shoulder. I looked back again and the bird was flying toward me yet again. It turns out that these birds are oddly quick in flight – quicker than I am running down the sidewalk with a bag full of dry cleaning. As I looked back the bird was mid-swoop for the third attack. I screamed louder and ducked. The bird missed me by inches.
I ran a block and then the sobbing began.
I had to sit on the corner of the sidewalk rocking a little bit, counting to ten with deep breaths, and then crying a little bit before I gained any composure at all, at which point I madly texted my husband to tell him the story. I could feel the laughter coming from the other side of the reply texts.
I made it to the dry cleaner.
I made it back home.
But I’ll be damned if I didn’t hear every bird chirping on the way back.
Bird, you won this round. But I will win at life. Somehow.
And God, I hear you. Loud and clear. I will stop going out in public looking like someone who would scare Shrek. MESSAGE RECEIVED, SIR.
P.S. I would bet you a thousand dollars my mom today could not find any of those pictures from that Paris trip and the wrought iron table birds that she had to have.
P.P.S. **UPDATE** Mom came through and found the table when the first bird arrived. Please note my look of uncomfort. What you cannot see is my mom yelling at me to stay put, and “SMILE FOR GODS SAKE THIS IS GOING TO BE AN ADORABLE PICTURE!”