Sep 11, 2013

My Increasing Love for Urban Wildlife

Story of the day! (This is not a thing, don’t get your hopes up).

Turns out I missed the part of school where I was supposed to learn to write humorous creative non-fiction. That being said, I had something happen to me that I felt was blog worthy. If this is unbearable let me know and I'll go back to complaining about things but I'm hoping at least one person finds it entertaining. Also, this story is true but it happened almost 2 months ago now.

I had to go to the post office this morning because a bill had gotten lost in the mail and was significantly past due. The post office is about 7 or 8 blocks away from where I work and I needed to go quickly and get back so I could prepare for a meeting. So with only 2 or so blocks to go I am stopped at a normally busy intersection. Normally busy, but at 7:45 in the morning it was completely devoid of cars. Stressed because of the rush and the late bill, but also feeling pretty good because of my new pink shirt and grey wool tie I was wearing, I contemplated the red hand that stared at me from across the street.

Pedestrians in Seattle seem to follow traffic laws when they feel like it. Most use the cross walk and wait their turn, unless of course they don’t want to or are in a hurry. It’s not that we don’t want to obey the rules and so we do most of the time, but we draw the line at our own inconvenience. I could very well be wrong about this, but it is how I myself feel about traffic laws and from my observation most Seattlites share my lack of strong conviction.

I decided to cross the street probably because I was in a hurry and, there weren't any cars. A couple of people decided to follow my example but not till I was a couple of yards ahead of them. Out of nowhere a motorcycle cop pulled up in front of me and blocked my path. Where did he come from you ask? Not sure, but I was surprised how quickly and how close he came to me in his motorcycle. (I wondered then and still do now, if his pulling in front of me on a motorcycle was actually more dangerous than me crossing the road when I wasn't supposed to).

(correct intersection, but bad angle and not the same motorcycle)

I was then asked by Officer Chin, a 5'5" Asian SPD officer in a snappy clean blue uniform, if I could see the orange do not walk hand. He didn't ask if I had seen the sign, but if I could see it. I guess I could have been blind, but wearing no glasses and having no cane it felt significantly more like being shamed than being asked a serious question. Of course I responded yes. I kind of wish I had said something else, anything else really, but authority makes me nervous. When confronted by authority I automatically comply with any and all instructions like a shamed puppy.

Officer Chin muttered something under his breath about there being too many accidents here. He then turns on the lights on his bike and pulls me over.

I got pulled over by a motorcycle cop... while walking.

And he felt it necessary to put his damn lights on and thereby announce to the world that I was an idiot.

Being self-conscience and wonderfully insecure, I was horribly embarrassed. Being publicly shamed on one of the most pedestrian heavy corners in Seattle is not great. Don't recommend it.

Now on the sidewalk I gave Officer Chin my ID and he started writing out my ticket in silence. Frustrated that I was being punished for something as insignificant as jaywalking, I eyed Officer Chin hoping that my ticket would be small.

Then the unexpected happened. In fact, it was so amazing and unexpected that the ticket was almost worth it.

A pigeon shat all over Officer Chin.

It got his shoulder, his arm, the front of his uniform and his shoe.

Barely keeping myself from laughing in his face I take a step back and try not to stare. Officer Chin looks pissed and takes an inadequate slight step to his right. Not 20 seconds later a pigeon shat on him again. The damage was equally extensive as the first strike.

This wasn't a small smudge but enough bird shit to realize what it is from a significant distance. It was past the easily cleanable level. It required washing. That made it so much better.

Officer Chin was obviously perturbed. I was dying inside. It was virtually impossible for me to contain my luck. True, I did get a $56 ticket that for some ass backwards reason goes on my driving record (jaywalking is considered a traffic violation here). On the other hand, I was given immediate and amazingly satisfying revenge without having to lift a finger. It is the kind of story that one reads in a David Sedaris book or hears on This American Life but don't think will ever happen to you. OK maybe it's not, but I'm gonna pretend it's that good.

One question still bothers me though. What does a police officer do if they get bird shit all over their uniform? Does he have to go back to the station and change or does he try to wash it off and after failing, walk around with a now wet and bird stained uniform for the rest of his shift? Either is fantastic.

I like to think about all the times he ran into a fellow officer and had to tell the story. He almost certainly described me as young, entitled and irresponsible. Frankly, he's probably right. Whatever, I just hope he also described me as a well dressed young professional instead of as a dumbass kid in a pink shirt.

OK now its the summing up, moral of the story part. (Cue music with partially relevant lyrics and JD's end of episode monologue voice).

At the end of the day, I guess this is yet another example of why you've got to obey the white man.

Or maybe just that pigeons are awesome.


  1. Police in Seattle are crazy about the jaywalking thing. Only place I know to hand out jaywalk tickets. Wish I could have seen that pigeon.

  2. Ya you and me both. I never got a good look at which pigeon did it, cause there were too many on the lines to tell.

  3. Wow. This. Story. I want to give that bird a high five! Or a high...however many feathers pigeons have on their wings.


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