42. Birds

I’m telling you, love, the blasted bird just came out of nowhere!

Different cultures all have different ways of signalling the changing of the seasons.  Nature generally dictates such things, such as we know autumn has arrived because all the leaves turn brown fall to their deaths.  To let us know that spring has arrived sheep generally start flirting with each other and soon enough lots of cute little lambs are launched.  If you are a mad Druid called Merlin then to recognise the coming of summer you go to Stonehenge and dance like an idiot during the solstice.

Here in the UAE there is no spring or autumn, we jump straight from winter into summer.  But how do we know when summer is coming?  What are the early warning signs?  Ok, forget the fact that the thermometer shoots up and you crank the air conditioning to 18 Celsius for 8 solid months, the real tell-tale sign are the birds.  Yep, birds are the summer giveaway.

Think back to the harsh UAE winter, when you were driving to work did you ever notice any birds flying around?  Probably yes, but where were they?  They were in the parks, or around your house and at the very riskiest, near the side of the road.  Generally they were keeping themselves out of trouble.  But now, 6 weeks into summer have you noticed anything different?  What is Johnny Sparrow up to now?  I’ll tell you what: he’s playing chicken with your windscreen, Toro with your car’s grille, Russian roulette with your front wheels.  He has gone mad.

Yep, you know the UAE’s summer is here when the birds all become crazed suicidal maniacs, dehydrated and with nothing left to lose.  I have just returned home from a spot of lunch, and on my 7 minute drive back no less than 6 birds tried to fly into my windscreen.  I’m noticing this more and more often, every day I go to work they are all trying to kill themselves on my time.

They are a true menace.  It is simply not fair to ruin someone’s day by killing yourself on their car.  My girlfriend got her first kill last month and has been grief stricken ever since.  My tally numbers by the scores, many birds have died in front of me.  They say that everything happens for a reason but I scoff with arrogance at such foolish remarks…until recently.

Johnny Sparrow is a hero.  The other day whilst driving home from work I killed another one.  It flew out of nowhere and now resides in birdy heaven.  The incident made me sad.  I slowed and continued to drive home under the speed limit.  Turning into my block I proceeded quite slowly, thinking how I would break the news to my girlfriend that I had taken another aviary life.  Out of nowhere a child ran across the road right in front of me.  He was about 6.  6 is his lucky number because if I was even driving at the speed limit, he would be dead.  Because I was only running at 20kph I was able to avoid him.

The useless nanny who was obviously doing a great job of minding him didn’t seem too bothered.  But I was startled.  I know how fast I have driven around there before and…well.  I’d rather not think about it.  What makes me think though is that the anonymous sparrow, in death, had inadvertently saved a young child’s life.

So the next time you kill a bird, don’t be sad, and just think how much worse it could have been.

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