“That’s good luck,” is what people who never get pooped on by birds will tell you about getting pooped on by birds. I will not tell you this, as I get pooped on by birds more frequently than anyone I know and more frequently than anyone anyone I know knows.
In fiscal terms, I’d say I get pooped on by a bird once quarterly. Why are we using fiscal terms? I don’t know. Maybe because getting pooped on by a bird, for me, is as certain as death and taxes? Actually, I don’t earn enough to pay taxes*, so getting pooped on by a bird is even more of a certainty, for me, than the most cliched certainty. We also don’t know that I won’t live forever. Who’s to say?
It is only natural that I question whether it’s something about me specifically that beckons bird droppings. It’s hard not to take it personally when you are standing on a crowded city street or beach and are the only victim of a flying rat’s digestive failings. Perhaps it’s the color of my hair? In Spain, it’s “chestnut” colored; in Chile, “blonde;” perhaps, on a global scale, “bird toilet,” or “poop magnet.” Whispers of “maybe she’s born with it…” follow me.
Perhaps it all comes down to location. Do I spend an inordinate amount of time hanging out under trees, a popular bird residence and/or gathering spot? Possibly yes, more than the average city dweller. I love taking long walks and sitting in parks and although I’m a huge fan of the sun, I also fear it due to my fair skin and family medical history. I spend most of my time outdoors skulking in the shade, a hot spot for bird poop activity. If absorbing a bit of bird shit is the price I must pay to avoid skin cancer, I’ll take that deal. One should not negotiate with terrorists (in this case, both birds and the sun).
Now, of all the terrible things that can happen on city streets, getting pooped on by a bird is not among them. There are far worse things, and it’s important to have some perspective. But city birds are especially gross. Birds out in the wild probably eat seeds, grains and berries. Maybe some worms and insects. Organic matter. But city birds eat garbage. They eat the shitty droppings of peoples’ shitty food. They eat shit and then shit shit. It is shitception. A vicious shitcycle. A shitstorm.
If I’m looking for silver linings, here is one: birds usually poop on my head, sparing my clothes, which is convenient because I shower daily but don’t do laundry quite as often as I should. I should also be thankful that the bird poop I get is from real, live birds. Hear me out: In some big European cities, some teams of thieves are dropping fake bird poop on people to distract them while someone steals their wallet. In this way, I am lucky.
Speaking of luck: Getting pooped on by a bird, or having anything you own get pooped on by a bird (which is an excessively generous caveat in my opinion), is thought by many to bring good luck. I generally write this off as a consolation — a nice thing for your friends to tell you after they’re finished laughing at you for getting shat on. I don’t feel particularly lucky, but perhaps I should use all of these shitty moments to take stock of all the ways I am in fact very fortunate.
While searching The Internette for answers as to why incontinent birds gravitate towards me, what I found troubled me. Somebody on Quora (It wasn’t me, that I can recall) asked “Do birds sometimes intentionally poop on people? Do they aim their poops at targets?” The answer, in summary, was yes, some birds do, but probably not pigeons. As a city dweller, this should be reassuring. Most city dwellers of the ave variety are pigeons. According to this logic, then, the odds of getting intentionally pooped on by a bird in a city are quite low.
The last time I got pooped on by a bird was in Santiago de Chile, on my lunch hour. I didn’t see the culprit but earlier that day I had seen a falcon outside the window of my office with a glint of malice in his eye. After work, I came home, went to the shower, opened the tap. A few drops sputtered out, then some brown goo, then nothing. My building’s water had been turned off. That, my friends, is not good luck.
*I still declare taxes. Nothing to see here. Also since the time of writing I got a raise and now actually owe taxes yay.