Figurative to Literal


It’s not often in one’s life that the figurative melds into the literal in a matter of seconds. It happened to me on Saturday.

We were in Brooklyn visiting Corie, cruising around DUMBO. The path had to lead by Water Street because that is where Jaques Torres’ chocolate shop is located and it was Mother’s Day and even if it weren’t - that is where Jaques Torres’ chocolate shop is located. We were about to go inside when I looked across the street at the old warehouse building and I saw a great photograph to snap.

As with many old, 19th century warehouses, this one had those great iron shutters that protected the opening in each story where goods were once hauled up via block and tackle for storage. Old, dark, rusted iron against the weathered brick. To top it off, a pigeon sat quietly at the peak of the topmost iron shutter, artfully punctuating the composition. “Wait a sec”, I told Nancy and Corie, “I want to shoot a few pictures” and proceeded across the street.

As I walked across the composition formed itself in my mind. I had the nice wide-angle lens on the camera. I’d stand at the very base of the wall and shoot up, getting the deep perspective of the windows framed by all the brick with the eye coming to rest on the solitary pigeon. No one was walking on that side of the street - I could take my time and compose.

I set the aperture. I focused. I composed the shot. Then everything went into slow motion. Not just any slow motion - think Peckinpah’s Wild Bunch - think Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde. The next three seconds took thirty…

As I looked through the viewfinder, the shit sprayed from the pigeon’s ass. In my mind it was only traveling about 2 inches per second, like the blood spurting forth from a Peckinpah bullet wound. Simultaneously, my mind registered Corie’s voice behind me - “Waaaaaaaaaatch Oooooooooooout, Daaaaaaaaaaad !!!!!”

The scene might have been in slow motion by my nimble mind was not. I instinctively knew what to do - protect the camera! My spirit left my body and watched from above as I twisted down, curled the Canon under my chest, and began to step back. The splat, splat, splat of pigeon shit rained down on me, striking my back, my pants, my head, and my hand.

And then it was over. Time warped back into full motion and I heard Nancy and Corie laughing. As I stepped back across the street, they took one look at me and stopped. Their smiles turned into a rictus of disgust.

It took them a couple of trips into the chocolate shop to steal enough napkins to clean me up, though “clean me up” is probably a vast overstatement. “Scrape enough shit off me so I did’t scare people” might be more accurate. That done, they immediately went into the shop to buy chocolates.

I then did what any self respecting photo nut would do. I went across the street and shot my pictures - though thankfully without the bird.

Somehow, being shit on literally wasn't half as bad as some of the figurative events in my life.


Ehh, how unusual. I find myself at a loss for words. Did Corie get a pic of the "action" or was she, well, laughing her ass off as your siblings would?

of course she was laughing her ass off - almost as hard as her mother...

It's too bad, but I know it's a little difficult to focus when you're laughing your ass off.

Correction-- we were STIFLING our laughing. It could have been much, much worse.

sounds like a monster release of shit.

You know... you don't really need two people to go and get napkins. One could do the job, while the other stays and takes pictures for the rest of us to enjoy!

True, but I think that they both needed to get way from me for a moment in order to wretch, then laugh... Besides, it ended up taking a lot more napkins than they both grabbed on the first trip.


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This page contains a single entry by published on May 9, 2005 2:20 PM.

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