Chapter 7: Pigeon Poop

One of my favorite landmarks -- the Hayden Mill

(I’ve previously told this story here. It is worth re-telling.)

Once, when running late for a date, and literally running, a bird took a dump on my head and chest.

It was 2008. I was competing in triathlons and sat next to Harry at a cycling seminar. He asked me to join him for a bike ride, which turned into drinks on Mill Avenue after work. (I’d later see him again in Mozambique.) We agreed to meet at an Irish pub. I was running late from traffic and barely had enough time to head home, throw on a cute outfit, find parking and get to the date.

I remember feeling good about myself. I was wearing my 10-year-reunion red top that fit just right, and a great pair of jeans. As I was racing toward the bar, I felt a plop.

The sky was clear, but I looked upward anyway. Any Phoenician can tell you — tree-lined Mill Avenue is infamous for the birds. We are talking clouds of black birds that make Alfred Hitchcock smile in his grave. Of course, I looked up expecting it to be rain when I felt yet another plop. This time it was on my chest, and the greasy, gray of guano.

Just as the bird poop hit, I turned to see a plate glass window with a series of full bar stools. A group of people were eating their dinner, looking out at the street and they’d all stopped eating as though frozen in time. When I looked down and then up, I knew what had happened. I’d been pooped on. To make matters worse, I’d been pooped on and I was late for a date and there was an entire group of strangers watching.

What else is there to do? I moved away from the trees, tilted my head back and laughed, which set off the group in the restaurant. I went inside to everyone laughing, found the restroom, and cleaned myself up before scurrying across the street for the date.

Harry is a nice guy, and I’d later have fun with him in Africa. But the prospects of any relationship could have been forecast that day.

I’ve heard there is some belief that having a bird poop on you is good luck. To that, I say: poppycock.