18 Jan, 2012
When shit got real
I’m a very rational person. I don’t even deal with irrational numbers like pi, lest they come and destroy my perfectly rational world. They’re a slippery slope to irrational beliefs. As a true rationalist, I brush away unfounded conspiracy theories every chance I get. Ghosts? Hogwash. Psychics? Frauds. Area 51? Bogus. But there’s only so much shit you can take before you start believing in conspiracies.
But it’s probably best to bring in some context before I elaborate. Not everybody has had the privilege of observing a Hamish in his natural habitat. But the ones who have tend to compare it with industrial landfills on a particularly bad day. The popular school of thought regarding orderly housekeeping prescribes handy notions like ‘putting things where they belong’, ‘putting things back once you’re done with it’, and the ever-notorious ‘taking out the garbage everyday/week’. But being a strong-willed rebel, I had long since adopted the far less popular fringe tactic of aggressive laissez faire – where the only tenet is ‘Let it be’. As a result, my living room perpetually looks like it just got broken into by a burglar with chronic muscle spasms.
From time to time, I clear up a small space for me to use, and that’s usually the spot in front of the TV. And once in a while, I even do some light cleaning around the house. But one place that I had given up on, is the balcony. My balcony opens up to a majestic view of… the wall of my neighboring building. But if I crane my neck out and look to the right, there is a beautiful view of the park… if I remember right. I have to rely on my memory now because it had been months since I set foot on the balcony. There was a time when I used to at least try to clean the balcony. But the with the kind of weather there, it just was too much trouble to maintain. So I decided to shut off the balcony altogether. So what if I miss out on a view? I can always simulate the view on my TV.
But there are real consequences to avoiding cleaning your balcony. And I’m not just talking about the sand dunes that pile up after a couple of sandstorms in the desert here. As is the case anywhere, when you ignore prime real estate, you can expect to find squatters lining up. And the squatters that lined up on my balcony were the kind that didn’t give a shit about how the balcony looked. Well, that’s not true. Quite the contrary, in fact – my complaint is actually about the amount of shit they HAD given to how the place looked. The squatters who took over my balcony… were pigeons, and they had all tacitly earmarked my balcony as a public toilet. Some of you might be thinking “Whu-ho, man. Stap trippin’ on dem pigeons. Buhds will be buhds, won’t dey?”. And to those imaginary hippies with weird Southern accents, I say – “Oh, yeah? You don’t even know the quantity of poop I’m talking about here.” I’m talking massive. It’s like all the pigeons in the region with diarrhea has a homing beacon to my balcony.
But why? Why my balcony? Aside from the obvious reason that I hadn’t bothered to clean up the balcony in months (which I will conveniently ignore altogether), the reason is – boxes. Piles and piles of discarded cardboard boxes. All the boxes from the various appliances and gadgets I’ve bought last year – I had kept them on the balcony. As it turns out, they are the key assets that the modern pigeon family looks for when it comes to real estate. Apparently, birds feel that cardboard is the best environment for raising a family. Families of pigeons kept showing up, laying eggs, raising baby pigeons, shedding feathers, and accumulating bird droppings.
I assume that they kept inviting their friends and families to party and poop in the five star toilet facility for birds that my balcony had become. It was a conspiracy. The way they were going about it, I was forced to assume that they were practicing for the impending bird-shit apocalypse. With all the training they’d been going through, that Armageddon is going to be intense.
Even with with all the bird-brained turd conspiracies going on, I still wasn’t concerned. What happened on the balcony, I reasoned, stayed on the balcony. It’s like the Vegas of apartments. Not bothering me. But as some of you may know, I am getting married soon. On the 28th of January, 2012, I lay my bachelorhood to rest. In a short while, I will be bringing my better half to my abode. And most marriage counselors seem to agree that a guano infested balcony is very low on the list of things you can spring on your new bride. I’m not superstitious, but it’s generally considered a bad omen when the bride starts screaming in the first half-hour of stepping into her new home.
So I started the arduous task of cleaning up all the crap off the balcony. It took me like… a few days. Oh, yes – a few solid days of earnest and diligent search before I found some people who were willing to clean up the balcony. By this time, the bird droppings, dust, feathers, and other assorted nesting accessories had accumulated itself into a large pile. It wasn’t easy seeing those brave people wading in filth trying to reclaim the Balcony of the Birds.
But finally… they did it. With my help (which essentially consisted of morale boosting well-wishes from the couch), they cleared several months of accumulated crap and wiped the balcony clean. After a long period of exile, I finally set foot on the balcony once again. One small step for man, one giant leap for cleaning supplies everywhere. So crisis averted. I could get my wife into the house without the risk of her fainting… if I were bringing her in right now. But I’m not. There’s a good couple of months left before I bring her in. And while I HAVE gotten rid of all the crap, the birds haven’t gotten the memo of eviction. They keep coming and knocking on the glass panes, as if saying “Pardon, me, sir. But would you have happened to see my cardboard-box villa? It was about so high… I had a lot of shit stored up in those, you know… and I would hate to have to start from scratch”.
Can I keep the place decent till I bring home the missus? I’m not betting on it. I can already feel the pigeons’ laughter behind my back. At least, I hope that’s just laughter.