The Grossest Thing in the History of Ever
This story is just too gross to be told out loud, I can only blog it. The one redeeming part of the whole thing is that in the middle of all the grossness, the overwhelming hideousness, the unbelievable nausitudiness of it all, a little thought popped into my head that provided my salvation, "this would make a good blog," and here we are. This story is true and not for the faint of heart.
The group got up early this morning and headed off to Kew Gardens and points south. I, however, wasn't feeling too well so opted to stay home and rest. At around 11 o'clock I started to feel a little better and my back was hurting from my crummy bed so I got up and decided I could just walk over to Portobello Road and take pictures and buy a treat. It all started out so well—good weather, lots of crowds, fun conversations to overhear, the corgi lady was there with her camper in her full glory (“a dog is for life, not just for Christmas”) and the grumpy guy who yelled at me for taking photos of his fruit last week had his back to me and was very busy so I could take all the photos of his better than average produce that I wanted. I had walked almost the entire length of the road taking all the detours I felt like taking, (something you can never do if you are there with someone else) and I was out in front of a place I had wanted to get a better picture of but in the past had been intimidated by the presence of the owner always out front—which is normal for restaurants around here, there is usually someone out front beckoning you to come in and eat, but this guy seemed particularly menacing and grumpy about the fact that I had a camera around my neck so I had never dared get close to his building and take any pictures. Well there was enough of a crowd to keep him busy but not too many as to block my shots so I was all set.
Now I need to digress just a little bit here to tell you something Berkeley Frances had to say after living here about a week. “You know,” said she, “they should just feed all the pigeons to the homeless people—that would solve two problems.” And this from THE animal lover of the universe. It kind of tells you a little something about the potential for a different kind of bombing that goes on around here that doesn’t make the headlines. (Although if there had been a news camera around, this probably would have) yes, yes, I believe you are starting to get the picture as it were. I’m near the walls of a building framing a shot, holding still, and SPLAT!!!! Now I need to tell you something else at this point, once when I was in Italy pigeons bombed me 3 times in the same hour. It was, in fact, the first, second, and third time it has ever happened to me. It was gross and unusual but I got over it and now, if it happens to anyone and I’m around, I tell them of that fateful day and how I’ve learned not to linger under ledges where there are pigeons present and I pretty much shrug it off and tell ‘em to get over it too, I mean, come on, how bad can it be?
Well, I’m about to tell you. If you are eating anything at all at this point, you may want to come back later . . .First of all, when it hit I was quite startled, it wasn’t like when something drips on you and you feel a little something and wonder what it was, no, this was a life event. My first thought was that someone had thrown a bucket of water/slop on me as a cruel prank or as payback for taking a photograph. I barely dared to look up for fear of seeing someone leering mockingly down at me, or worse, getting more of it in the face. But you know, sometimes pure instinct just takes over so I looked up and sure enough, there were lots of pigeons all in a row just having a lovely afternoon. This next part is kind of like slow motion—it lasted forever. So what does one do when something unexpected like this happens? First, I took stock of the situation—I knew it was bad because of how heavy the thud/splat felt, the question now remained, how bad? Well, let’s put it this way, the three hits I took back in Italy didn’t even add up to a tablespoon, this was probably a full cup and I am not kidding. I could feel the warmth of it on my head and I could also tell that it had hit my shoulder right at the spot where my sweater and white dress meet my neck and that not only had it hit said sweater and white dress, it had begun to slide down my neck, under my collar and ooze down my back on my skin! I am beyond grossed out and I haven’t even begun to comprehend the status of my hair. I am vaguely aware that there are people around me, but none of them seem to be reacting in any way—which was just fine, thank you very much, because if there had been any students with me they would have surely reacted and then there would have been a scene and I really wouldn’t have wanted that. Small favors. Notice I didn’t say tender mercies. Meanwhile, I’m standing there frozen in place trying to think of what to do. (This next part is the juiciest and when I say juiciest I mean the grossest moment of my life to date.) In fact, after I tell this part, the story kind of goes down hill, I mean, I did what I could and then walked a mile or so home and took a shower end of story -- so I guess I’ve saved the middle part to tell last, are you ready? The only thing I could think to do was to make use of my already awful (and thankfully worn today since it was slightly cloudy—a true tender mercy) sweater. So I eased out of it as best I could while constantly thinking to myself, “don’t get it on your hands.” I knew I had to do something about my hair and I had made a small purchase so I had a plastic shopping bag with me; my thought being that I could sort of wipe up my hair then put the sweater in the plastic bag, so I proceeded to find a ‘clean’ corner of my sweater and put it up to my head to try and clean myself up. Did you feel a little queasy when I mentioned the part about when it started sliding down my shirt? Well, brace yourself. There is no describing the sensation that hit me as I put the sweater to my head. When I made contact through the thick fabric, I felt my hand just slide around in a deep, deep puddle of warm goo. I couldn’t believe it—there was soooooo much muck that that pigeon should be in the Guinness Book of World Records! I mean, how can it even be possible? Can 10 pigeons let it loose all at once? Was there some kind of pigeon chain gang assigned to clean off the ledge making it safe for all pigeons everywhere? Nothing could have prepared me for that horrible feeling—oh, and did I mention the smell? The motion of trying to clean it up must have activated it somehow and that’s when I began to gag. I’m standing there in the middle of Portobello Road covered in poop and I can’t stop retching! That, my children, is what we call going from bad to worse. My eyes were bulging, I started to sweat, the nausea was building, my body was involuntarily shuddering, while all the time I was thinking, "don’t make a scene, don’t get noticed—someone might try to help and then what will you do?" To me the only thing worse than being alone with no good resources, would have been to have someone notice me and offer to help—then my mortification would have been complete, I would have had to die on the spot. The only thing I could think to do was to just get out of there and get home as fast as possible. The second thing I thought was, as I mentioned at the beginning, that this would make a great blog, was I right?