cherry poppin momma vs swan

The first blog post.  Terrifying.  I wasn’t this nervous for any of the other firsts, and there have been some humdingers (trying to bring the word back, nailed it).

The first time I admitted I hate Jane Austen.  As an English major, this is a dirty secret.  My palms were sweating, and no matter how much I tried to move my tongue it stayed stuck to the roof of my mouth.  And it tasted like old gum, which is weird because I thought old gum didn’t taste like anything. Had to be done, I’m not a fan.  However, Austen did give us Darcy.  I could care less for Elizabeth, but a post-pond Firth/Darcy? He could do just about anything he liked to me.  Except read me Pride and Prejudice.

Ah, how about the first time I kissed a boy.  Brandon M.  He was a tall pile of legs and boyscout badges who lived three bicycle pumps and a fence hop away from my bedroom window.  We were crouched behind the futon in the den; I held the blanket over our heads while he licked my upper lip.  He tasted like popcorn and strawberries.  I guess this was less of a first kiss, and more of a first…licking.

Got it.  The first time I peed on the overnight train between Hong Kong and Beijing.  Take away the hole only just small enough to keep a butt from falling through, and you still have a HOLE through which railroad ties pass by so fast you feel like you’re staring into a strobe light.  Then there was the breeze where there should never be a breeze.  I was so grateful for the grab-bar on the door I didn’t mind the soap (sweet baby Jesus I hope it was soap) residue left on my hands.  Upside to the breeze: only time it didn’t matter I wasn’t carrying toilet paper.  Celebrate the little things.

I guess all firsts are scary.

But nothing is as scary as a swan.  If you don’t know what I mean then you’ve never heard a swan scream.  Not a scream of fear (they don’t have such emotions), but one of unadulterated rage.  I used to be naive, I thought they were regal.  The long swooping neck, the heart shaped wings, the little splash of color on the beak. They are the ‘queen’s own’ birds. Literally.  Fun-fact for the day, the Queen of England owns all the swans in the UK.  Trust me, after seeing an adorable elderly couple chased off a park bench by a screaming, bloody (from the remains of lunch) swan – the allure is well and truly killed.  They are giant, evil, murderous birds.

I have a complicated relationship with birds.

Hence the blog title.  I wasn’t going for hipster, or artsy, or deep, or even alluding to Portlandia’s ‘put a bird on it’ bit.  Just being honest.  Birds. Hate. Me. For some reason. One of life’s mysteries.  It may have something to do with the dove I accidentally murdered.   Not-so-fun-fact for the day, birds can’t pass gas.  Alka-seltzer – all about passing gas.  Never should the twain meet…again.

Or it could be because of the seagull.  To be fair, the seagull flew into my car. So…his fault.

I’ve tried to make up for past mistakes. I go to duck ponds with fresh bread all the time.  They generally run away.  I almost crashed my car to avoid hitting a hawk that chose to eat her roadkill in the middle of the road.  She thanked me by flying away in perfect time to drag her lunch, and its entrails, along my driver side window. You’re welcome hawk.  I even tried to save a wild turkey that was standing, again, in the middle of the road. It chased me to my car and attacked my hood. Trapped me in there for 10 minutes.  I have been hit by wild birds while running (seagull), while walking (robin) and even while standing (herron).  I don’t remember anymore how many times I’ve been pooped on, but more than my fair share.

Despite everything, I have hope one day we can move beyond this.  That the next bird I approach won’t run away, or chase me and rip my grocery bag, or fly into me and crack my eggs, or hiss at me.  But maybe, just maybe, it will let me touch it.  And apologize.

You know, maybe that’s why I’m so afraid of flying. Being in their territory.  Outnumbered.  Well, that and the claustrophic-aluminum-death-encased-squishy-floor-wings-snapping-mid-air-fiery-crash-next-to-the-guy-trying-to-hide-that-he-just-ate-his-own-booger-phobia…thing.

Oh well, I guess I will just keep trying.  I mean, what is the worst that could happen?
DSC00582  578172_10151738963936577_554474130_n

Anyone else think these look like ‘Before’ photos?


5 thoughts on “cherry poppin momma vs swan

  1. Katie Hale says:

    Jessi, I love it! I also love the photo where every single duck is facing away from you. And the blackbird on the bank looks like it’s telling them ‘I’ll watch her – you guys run!’
    Though to be fair that chicken did let you get really close to it… before it clucked frantically and ran away.
    Looking forward to your future posts! 🙂

    • jessileerich says:

      Thanks Katie! I can usually get close to chickens for a couple of reasons 1) the whole flightless thing and 2) its a chicken. It can survive without a head. They are strangely fearless birds.

  2. Michelle Ross says:

    I loved this! As someone who has spent way too many hours on trains from Sichuan to Gansu, I feel your pain with the hole-hell! (A squatty is one thing. A squatty that rocks adds a whole new dimension. Am I seeing a new Olympic sport?!?)

    • jessileerich says:

      Thank you Michelle! I like the Olympics idea…maybe summer games though. Winter adds an extra element of bare-assing it that I’m not thrilled about. 🙂

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