Monday, November 27, 2006


On the way home today I thought I heard the creaking of a gang-gang cockatoo. So I stopped my bicycle and wheeled it to one side of the bike path so I could try and spot it. But a whole lot of people were walking towards me, giving me an Interrogative Look*, and I couldn't bring myself to give the real explanation. I mean, what was I supposed to say?

"Didn't you hear it? There's a common local bird up that tree and I absolutely MUST get its picture!"

"Look! A gang-gang! They're so cute! I'm just going to stand here and watch it for a while."

"My name is StyleyGeek. I have a blog. And a parrot addiction."

So instead I pretended to be inspecting my tires and bicycle chain in the hope the passers-by would do their passer-by thing and hurry up and pass me (by). Unfortunately, Australians suffer from terminal needing-to-be-helpful syndrome, so rather than being a convincing way of not looking like a maniac while I waited, my feigned bicycle problem was like honey to the proverbial thing that likes sweet and sticky things.**

Five people descended on me.

"Got a problem with your bike?"
"Is it a puncture?"
"Can I help you fix it?"
"Are you okay?"
"Do you need a lift home?"

I only managed to escape by pretending to be a dumb blonde*** and acting surprised that my tire wasn't flat.

"It's not? How silly of me! I could have sworn I felt it burst! I'll be off now, then."

And now I'm left with two questions:

Why would I rather be thought of as a bird-brain than a bird-lover?
Are public denial of an addiction and surreptitious behaviour signs of a serious problem?

Bring on the end of November.

(Oh yeah, and that link to the gang-gang photos from August? It totally counts as today's parrot picture.)

* Like this :?
**Like me.
*** Yes, pretending.


shrinkykitten said...

I still can't get over the fact that these birds are just all around you. So cool.

Here's my suggestion for next time: blame it on an American or on Americans. Given that aussies hate America (see my blog from last week for evidence), people will run screaming. You can say you have a dumb blonde American friend who doesn't believe these birds exist, or an ex pat Aussie friend in the US who misses the birds, or ....

ZaPaper said...

I can't get over the fact that you wouldn't admit you were bird-watching. That is TOO funny. I've stared straight up into trees with my mouth wide open and no camera in sight for 5-10 minutes at a time without explaining anything to anyone. Never mind geekdom, embrace freakdom. It's fun!

StyleyGeek said...

I think next time I might just blame it on you guys. "People from the internet made me do it!" I will say. And cackle maniacally.

Matthew said...

Here, photographing sparrows or ducks in public can bring on similar bouts of self-consciousness. Shy people don't get the photos, but then people who attract attention also don't get the photos.

Last week I was trying to photograph stilt chicks and some annoying people were discussing real estate right at the ideal bend in the path. Another time, I spotted some fairy wrens next to a cycleway and spent half an hour trying to photograph them. They would hop out of the shrubbery then another cyclist would pass and they'd disappear again. I just sat there in the grass like someone not all there. I did get a picture or two, but they are such small birds.