08 June 2006

My 30 Harrowing Seconds As A Bag Lady

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So the other day, I was on my way back from the Vogelasiel….The "Vogelasiel" is a local bird sanctuary where I've been helping feed baby birds since spring began. Usually, I take the bus there and back, but as I hadn't been to the gym that morning, I thought a little excersize wouldn't hurt me and I decided to walk home.

When I'm at the Vogelasiel, I spend my time running in and out of various cages, feeding various birds. Invariably I get pooped on. It's just one of the hazards of the job. Baby birds poop right after you feed them, and they tend to turn around and poop right on you. It's their way of saying "thank you"….Also, in nature when they are in nests, they poop back in their mother's face and she takes the poop in her beak and chucks it out of the nest. This is obviously what they expect me to do. Now I might be a crazy Critter Lady, but I'm not quite that crazy yet, so instead I just wear my hooded sweatshirt, try to dodge the bullets where I can, but mostly just let it fall where it may. Poop away, my friends, you can't touch me. The day in question was such a day. There were a lot of birds, I fed them all, and they, in turn shat on me more than George W. shits on the poor. In otherwords, I was covered, ladies and gentlemen. No problem, though, I was wearing the hooded jacket. When I was done, I simply pulled the jacket off, folded it, put it in my backpack and was on my way.

So here's something you should know incase you ever visit this part of the world (the BeNeLux countries; Belgium, Nederlands or Luxumbourg) in the summer: The weather can change in an instant. I mean without warning. The first time I experienced this, I was minding my own business, walking down a street in Amsterdam when all-of-a-sudden the skies opened up and just drenched me. No opening act of a few sprinkles, either. It was just right into the Main Attraction. Local Dutch people knew about all this and casually popped open their chic umbrellas, but I was caught completely unaware. I was forced to quickly seek refuge in a nearby bar.

So anyway, there I was, walking back from the Vogelasiel on what I thought was a perfectly pleasant day, when suddenly BOOM, it was raining. "Ah, fuck!" I gurgled through the onslaught, as I quickly rummaged through my backpack, retrieved the hooded sweatshirt and pulled it on. Unbeknownst to me, as I pulled it on, some bird poop smeared on to my cheek, but when it's raining like that how are you gonna know?

Now – if you're familiar with cotton knitwear, you'll know that it isn't exactly a rain repellant. When it gets wet, it tends to just get waterlogged and sad looking, and this is what happened here. The rain didn't have the courtesy to wash away any of the bird poop either; instead it just soaked into the sweatshirt and added glistening highlights to the poop. So there I was, walking along with my soaking wet backpack, soaking wet poop-covered clothes, my soaking hair clinging to the side of my pooped-upon face, and that's when it happened:

"Excusier, mevrouw"

Huh? I looked up to see a lovely young man standing in from of me, looked like a young college student. I wiped away snot as I studied his face.

"This is for you" He said in Dutch, holding out a 50 Euro-cent coin.

I thought he must have seen me drop the coin and was returning it to me. "Bedankt" I said, I accepting the coin with a hand that protruded through a poop covered sleeve.

How nice these Belgian young people are, I thought. Much nicer than college kids anywhere else I can think of. Kind of touching, really. I mean he could have just pocketed the coin himself, but instead he went to the extra effort to make sure he gave it back to me. Really great. It gives me faith in Mankind.

"God bless you and good luck." he said. And with a beatific smile, he walked away.

And that's when it dawned on me: He thought I was a Bag Lady.

"What the fuck!" I screamed into the rain. I stood still for a few moments. I'm a Bag Lady. I'm a Goddemned Bag Lady.

I'm a soaking wet Bag Lady covered in bird shit and all he gave me was 50 lousy cents? Cheap bastard.


abethebabe said...

Bird poo, eh? Well, don't feel bad. I only just figured out how to put pics on my blog, and I still can't figure out how to link to other blogs/sites (I'm so computer challenged). I once had a squirrel drop a nut, shell and all, into a glass of juice I was enjoying outside one day, and I managed to swallow the whole thing down - ouch.

Bob Haggis said...

Hello from Trebekistan!

My esteemed colleague Professor Bob Harris likes to compare himself and his new work The Prisoner of Trebekistan to such authors as Albert Camus and Bill Bryson and their books The Stranger and Thunderbolt Kid, respectively, on the basis of Amazon.com's system of co-rating books based on customer purchases.


I can see why he would like to be considered a peer of sorts to writers of the caliber and reputation of Camus and Bryson. However, a recent visit to the Amazon.com website that features Prisoner of Trebekistan shows a more intriguing set of books that purchasers of Professor Harris' tome proceed to buy. Among these seemingly odd choices are Woof: Perspectives into the Erotic Care and Training of the Human Dog, Soaked! The Watersports Handbook for Men, and First Hand: An Erotic Guide to Anal Fisting.


(By the way, the cover photo for Woof is one of the most remarkable things I have seen in my entire life, truly hilarious. The only thing funnier would be imagining Professor Harris on his hands and knees wearing a pudu mask)

I was as surprised by these correlations of consumer choices as you may be, but a recent visit to Trebekistan has solved the mystery entirely. The citizens of Trebekistan have many peculiar habits and hobbies that relate to these various books.

For example, man pudu love is not merely permitted, it is encouraged by the state. President Harris leads the peoples of Trebekistan in this example, by proclaiming without shame his desire to be "nuzzled" by these cute little mammals, and his acolytes describes ecstatically their desires to "cuddle" with pudus. However, seeing several of these "nuzzlings" in public, I realized that these "pudus" were actually guys dressed up in pudu costumes. Until President Harris completes his guidebook Bleat:Perspectives into the Erotic Care and Training of the Human Pudu, this fine volume by Daniels will have to suffice for the guidance of the citizenry. The practice of man-pudu love, or "pudurasty" as it is called here, is a striking example of the heterogeny of the sexual practices of mankind.

The next book, Soaked: The Watersports Handbook for Men would seem to be related to the national sport of Trebekistan. In my hotel I watched TV for an evening and was struck by TNTV (Trebekistan National Television) programming. The sole fare was repeated reruns of Jeopardy and instruction in watersports, conducted by President Harris himself. I must say, it would not be my "cup of tea," but watching the President demonstrate new watersports techniques *is* a strangely compelling spectacle.

Finally, the book First Hand: An Erotic Guide to Anal Fisting also seems to fit into the mores and customs of the people of Trebekistan. Trebekistan has a sort of man-diety, once known by the Christan name Alex Trebek, but now simply referred to as The Host. Before the filming of the national game, called Jeopardy, the people assemble in the Cathedral of The Host, where The Host conducts a certain ceremonious invasion of The President. It looks very unpleasant, for the President that is, but apparently President Harris is willing to endure great indignity in oder to procure fame (and to mollify The Host so that he might appear again on a TV game show).

It really is a marvelous place, Trebekistan, and I urge you to visit and see these fascinating people and their idiosynchratic but very charming customs for yourself.

Kind regards,

Professor Bob Haggis