Lucy Whitehouse’s My First Time series begins firmly at the bottom.
If you’re going to write a gratuitously self-indulgent lifestyle blog, probably better start at the bottom and work your way up. Earn a bit of cachet, build up a devoted following, gain a few hysterical fans (dreaming big here) before you even think about churning out wisdom on the circle of life. In that spirit, instead of the more momentous, sage, life milestone moments, let’s start with something a little more base. Bird shit.
The first time I saw a bird sling a crap from the clouds was akin, I imagine, to witnessing a tightly executed military manoeuver. All the precision, pomp and self-righteous zeal was there. The soulless, cold glint in the eyes of the perpetrators. The unworldly shriek of attack.
The location: Scarborough seafront, by the beach huts. It was, in hindsight, an obvious battleground, what with the splattered evidence of earlier attacks spread liberally across the hard, damp sand and the bins overflowing with congealing cod. Oblivious, though, we cracked on with the plan of that age old British institution: fish and chips on the beach. It was June, the breeze was bitter, and it was about to rain. Conditions were perfect.
High on the anticipation of that delicious, viscous grease, we arranged ourselves in a chipper little circle while above, our airborne assailants swooped lazily against the greying sky, heads cocking with surveillance as we freed our salty, golden goods from their paper prisons.
They timed it beautifully. Just as we took our first bites – the hangovers from last night’s summer ball, finally, about to yield – that unknowable substance so near and yet so far from mushy peas rained down from the sky. Seagulls, in slick sync, attacking from all angles: relentless, it was, a scatalogical reenactment of the mainstream media onslaught against Jeremy Corbyn. Remorseless.
Being deft and nimble (only joking, I was neither of those things – just fortuitously placed), I escaped unharmed, but my friends were not so lucky. This would be where I sing about empty chairs at empty tables in memory of my fallen comrades (an absolute Les Mis smash), only not, because no one died and we were sitting on the sand and there were no tables. We escaped fatality free, but the smears of shit up the inner seams of jeggings certainly killed the mood.
At first, in our sprinted retreat back to the plastic awning of the chip shop, I understood the attack to be simple wanton malice on the part of the birds. Bullies who just wanted to watch the world burn. But turning away from my frantic, tissue wielding friends to look back on our conceded territory, I realised the seagulls were far savvier than that. They were cawing gloriously and tearing away at our abandoned food, revelling in their spoils. They’d calculated (using observations, no doubt, from similarly successful past missions of this type) that in our panic we’d abandon our overpriced batter, leaving them to gorge on our poo splattered wares.
And so, for the first time, I saw a bird poo on someone. The bird did then eat its own feces, so here ends our account of a zero sum game.
For more first times, find the full series here.
Image credit: Nirzar Pangarkar
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