Yesterday I ducked out to buy a few groceries, having been away at the Surrey International Writers' Conference for five days.
What, you thought my husband would have replenished the fridge? He lives on salad and whatever he can find in the fridge that is ready made (jars of pickles, cheese, cold cuts, maple syrup, beer...) When I met him, the only thing in his kitchen was a stack of empty pizza boxes as tall as me. I? As tall as I? It was a 5'4" stack of empty pizza boxes. And in his fridge were a couple of boxes of alfalfa sprouts and a container of cream cheese. What did he concoct with these ingredients, I can hear you asking. Peanut butter, cream cheese and alfalfa sprout sandwiches on a bagel. I know this because he offered me one during our first night together. It's a credit to his other qualities that I decided to marry him. As I recall, that night we ordered pizza around 3 a.m. and watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail, but that's a whole other post.
And I digress.
(However, I might add he comes by the weird food honestly. His father, now in his late 80s, once offered me a peanut butter and onion sandwich, the onions sliced thick like chunks of apple. The alternative, besides starving to death, was peanut butter and relish or peanut butter and onions sandwiched between leftover pancakes.)
Okay, no more digressing. Scout's Honour.
I love this grocery store which caters to downtown tenants, so it's a mix of ethnic (pretty much every country represented) and health food (due to the number of students and artists) all crammed into a tiny space. I love it because there is nothing worse to me than wandering around a giant grocery store down aisles carrying thousands of varieties of cereals or cookies when all I want to do is buy some veggies and nuts and schlep them home.
Damn, I just digressed again. (However, from the news reports, Scout's Honour doesn't carry much weight these days.)
Outside the grocery store, I noticed a pile of seeds all along the outside of the building. Some stupid tenant in the apartment building next door had clearly laid these out for the birds. I suspect there was some stiff competition from the city rats, pigeons and squirrels (or as I like to call them, ugly rats, flying rats and city rats with fancy clothes) but I thought no more of it until I got to the checkout and pulled my wallet out of my leather backpack.
As I struggled to put away my credit card quickly and fill my portable grocery cart for the walk home (Do Not Judge Me. In the city, these portable grocery carts are used by everyone, not just little old ladies. How else are we city dwellers supposed to lug home heavy stuff like milk, potatoes, and MacCallan 12?* And I bought my cart in an artist's store, for carrying art supplies, and what is cooler than an artist? Never mind that I bought it for my daughter who looked at me like I'd suggested she wear panties on her head and dance Gangnam style down Sherbrooke Street.)
Where was I?
Being glared at by the lineup at the cashier, casually bumped in the ankles by the cart behind me, which is code for move your ass and fiddle with your bag outside.
This is when I noticed my hand covered with what looked like, but did not smell like, chocolate.
Upon closer examination, I saw that a bird, most likely a Flying City Rat, had shat on my bag. If shitting on handbags were an Olympic event, this pigeon would have a gold medal. It managed, even though flying by at 30 mph (they have been clocked at 58 mph, though average speed is around 30) to accurately hit not only my bag, but INSIDE the pocket, a gap less than 1/2 inch wide. It splattered my lovely satin lining, my comb, my fan (Menopausal 101 - carry a fan at all times) and my brand new SiWC pen! I wiped up as best I could, because it also splattered my one and only Kleenex.
By the time I got home, I was calmer until I pulled my keys out of my bag, conveniently clipped to a lanyard, and tossed them over my hair and around my neck, as a matter of habit.
I remembered, too late, that the keys had also been stored in the Outside Pocket of Bird Shite.
There are many things I love about living in the city. Pigeons are not one of them.
*While the MacCallan 12 is a lovely, everyday go-to single malt, the MacCallan 18 is to die for, or at least, killing your best friend with a skillet to the head and running off with her bottle.