Monday, October 12, 2009

Birds: Part Two

Why will I never watch Jeremy Wells' Birdland?

Some of you will know of, will have had to be involuntarily tolerant of in fact, of my fear of birds.

Ornithophobia. It's a pain in the arse, just like any other phobia I suppose. I have two friends who also 'suffer' from this ridiculous, irrational fear. I know of 5-6 others who shriek at the sight of birds in general, wings flapping, eyes peering, beaks searching for food, talons, feathers, the creepy characteristics of birds, physical or physiological are almost endless.

I can't even have photos of birds on this post. Instead please observe the images of natural habitats of birds and signage associated with areas that birds tend to frequent. Delightful.

Clammy hands, tears, shaking, sudden yelps, ridiculous nightmares every couple of months, irrational thoughts that spiral into being housebound. Walking down Lambton Quay, two pigeons on either side of me. If I have no companion's arm to cling to, I'm crossing that street, or darting out to the road in a semi circle detour before coming back to the sidewalk.

The worst scenario is when a person is walking towards me, and is about the same distance away from the flying rat as I am. What needs to happen in order for peace to prevail is me reaching the area of the bird first, so that it walks away from me, and I continue on my merry way.


If the other person gets there first, it then chases the pigeon towards me, where I then seek refuge I have been seen huddling in the doorways of Chicago Menswear, Farmers on Lambton, Aotea Square, the music store on The Strand, Whakatane, the grand arches of Paddington Station, the food vendors vans of Flinders Street station. Seemingly, the world can not offer me a single refuge devoid of our feathered and winged counterparts.

Some days one may only suffer a slightly racing heart when encountering their nemesis. When when this happens, I simply clench and unclench my hands and carry on as per. Other days though, whoa.

A sparrow (before I made my peace with this particular species of bird) once got trapped in my laundry. I was at home studying for the morning, and heard a chirp.

Shit I thought. That's not outside.
Upon further investigation armed with a broom, I saw the little creep, shivering on the window pane. I tried to spook it by stamping my feet, but physically could not get closer than about 10 metres.

Needless to say the stomp was of a little effect.

All of a sudden, I was imagining thousands of sparrows infiltrating, pecking at me, surrounding the house. I couldn't go outside, and I couldn't open windows. Three hours later, someone came home and I was liberated.

Recent enemies of the avian flu spreading mongrels include that white cockatoo that sifts around the City Market on Sunday mornings. I want a croissant and peruse around the artisan goods that are available and whammo! A bloody parrot is squawking behind me, eyeing me up, ready to have me for breakfast.In Melbourne the crows behave like king pins- such awful creatures with their beaks, and their laughing as they stick together in gangs. I actually had to go through another suburb to get home once- because seeing them started out as a moment of freak out and then launched into a massive spin out where I was sure they were going to target me and peck me to death.


I've even had to grab a couple of strangers arms and tell them what was happening and let them (sorry, make them) lead me through a construction tunnel on a street in Wellington. They must have thought I was absolutely bonkers.

Which, to be fair, is what someone with a phobia is when having a moment of irrationality. A phobia of anything is not to be laughed at, and yet it should be, it is funny. I mean, now, as I write, birds are outside flitting around, dive bombing for fish and feasting on birdseed.

I'm sure plenty of friends out there would like to be able to make plans with me for some sort of eating event on the beach or lunch outdoors during work hours (Midland Park on Lambton or the waterfall square on High Street? Forget it) without me screeching 'VETO!'...

It is so bizarre thinking that a phobia lurks beneath a rather 'normal' character. It strikes at any time- I even get ridiculous nightmares.

If you have a phobia, of anything, or know someone that does, I urge you to try and read up on what you can do to either live with it, or try and overcome it. You can't just be given a good shake and told to get over it, in fact, that often leads to escalating a situation to the 'peck to the death' imagery.

Those who are...used to a loose sense of the phrase, now just simply keep talking, or pause while I cross the street then cross back over once the bird 'crisis' has been averted. Their arms are ready for me to grab, and their composure is always intact to carry on as per if I start crying from fear.

Until next time,

PS. I have in recent months attended the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary. Amazing. Do it. It's not even that scary if you see native birds since most of them don't fly or are shy...

1 comment:

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