Blogs by Jean Sheldon
Upstaged by a Pigeon
6/23/2007 5:14:02 AM
After moving all my belongings into my new apartment, I decided the thing to do was clean first, and then unpack. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people who lists the contents on the outside of every box. I had no idea where my cleaning supplies were and decided to buy a few new things. I’d use them eventually.
The apartment was in a nice, old six-flat in Chicago, a couple of blocks from Wrigley Field. Since April can be a little chilly, I grabbed my windbreaker and headed to the store. It wasn't far and the weather was great for a walk. Unfortunately, the store wasn’t open yet and I had about a five-minute wait.
The corner was at an intersection of two major streets and a popular place for homeless Chicagoans to gather. I found an open spot on the wall to lean and settled in to wait for the store to open. At the same moment that I noticed a large number of pigeons wandering around, I felt something fall on my jacket and I didn’t have to look up to know what had landed on my right shoulder. A milky white and grey line of pigeon poop rolled down the front of my dark burgundy windbreaker.
Things happen, I told myself, all I could do was clean it up. I dug through my pockets for tissue but came up empty and went to the garbage can on the corner. I poked around until I found a discarded newspaper and wiped off most of the dropping. As I threw the paper back in the trash, I looked across the street and saw three or four news cameras pointed in the direction of the store. I may have gulped audibly.
As casually as I could, I walked around the corner and leaned on a less visible piece of the wall, checking above to see if anyone else had me in their sites. “Oh brother,” I told a lingering pigeon, “don’t let that be a news crew doing a story on the hygiene habits of the homeless.” I was, at that time, the Art Director of the graphics department in a large and stuffy firm. They would have been less than pleased to see me digging through a garbage can.
Five minutes later, I took off and my glasses, tied my jacket around my waist and walked around to the front of the store. I made a dramatic gesture, as if I just discovered it was there, and ran in and bought every cleaning supply I could carry.
Since I had a personal interest, I found out they were in fact filming for a show on homelessness in Chicago and it aired a few months later on PBS. I watched, holding my breath until the end and was delighted that I didn’t appear. I have to admit though, that I couldn’t help but wonder why they cut my scene. They kept all the damn pigeons.
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More Blogs by Jean Sheldon
Go Complacently into the Night - Thursday, July 26, 2007
An Uncommon Magpie born on the Common - Thursday, July 26, 2007
Responsibility - Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Reality Check - Sunday, July 22, 2007
Priorities - Thursday, July 19, 2007
Selling Yourself—Selling Your Books - Monday, July 16, 2007
Okay, call me a Hypocrite - Sunday, July 15, 2007
You Find Life When You Live It - Saturday, July 14, 2007
Make some Room for the Rest of Us - Thursday, July 12, 2007
Ego - Wednesday, July 11, 2007
How do you Stay Calm in the Chaos? - Monday, July 09, 2007
Twilight Zoned - Sunday, July 08, 2007
Take Two Books and Call me in the Morning - Thursday, July 05, 2007
Survival of the Considerate - Monday, July 02, 2007
Listless on the DorothyL Listserve - Thursday, June 28, 2007
Which way do you think our feet are facing? - Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Always - Monday, June 25, 2007
Upstaged by a Pigeon - Saturday, June 23, 2007
Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard - Friday, June 22, 2007
The Boundaries we call Safe - Monday, June 18, 2007
Only You Know What you Want to Achieve - Friday, June 15, 2007
Buy my book—too subtle? - Monday, June 11, 2007
The Great Albuquerque Mouse Tragedy - Sunday, June 10, 2007
When are you the Most Creative? - Thursday, June 07, 2007
I Love My Socks - Thursday, June 07, 2007
One Man’s Peace is Another Man’s War - Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Writer’s Block—you have the right to remain silent - Saturday, June 02, 2007
Creating can be Scary - Wednesday, May 30, 2007
If you can’t say something nice…say something - Monday, May 28, 2007
How far do you go? - Thursday, May 24, 2007
Sociably Shy - Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Grist for the idea mill - Monday, May 21, 2007
A Sense of Community - Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Some Thoughts on Self-publishing - Monday, May 14, 2007