Sometimes the universe has a wicked sense of humour. Or humor, if you want to insist – Star Trek style – that the universe is inherently American.
It was last Friday and I found myself on business in the lovely city of Brighton. The sky was blue, the sun was shining and the sea was calm. If I hadn’t been wearing a grey suit, I might have been tempted to roll my trouser legs up and go for a puddle in the spume.
That’s “spume” as in the frothy stuff that little waves make when they hit a beach. No sniggering at the back please.
I found myself walking along a street with one of my clients. If that makes me sound like the second oldest profession (after apple picking), I ought to explain. My client was also a middle aged man in a suit and we had just been to a business meeting.
It came for us to go our separate ways. I was walking back to the car park to collect my version of a little deuce coupe. Which in Blighty translates as my little diesel hatchback. My client was looking for a taxi to take him to his next meeting.
Naturally, the taxis were doing that policemen and condoms thing. There is never one when you want them and then they come in threes. Taxis were there none. We scanned horizon and peered over hedgerows. Nothing, zip, nada. Not a taxi to be seen.
My client turned to me and asked the immortal question: “What do taxis look like in Brighton?”
“They look like the taxis in every other town, except they have more seagull sh*t on their roofs.”
Well, I thought it was funny. You probably had to be there.
We parted company wishing each other a good weekend. He found a hackney carriage and I made my way back to the car park. All the while, I was admiring my “bon mots” and wondering how and when I could build it into a story, a novel or a blog. Or even just to tell my 15 year old Best Boy In the World, who has always liked stories which involve poo. Possibly because his father (aka me) has told him a lot of stories involving poo. As you do.
The Universe was ready for me. When I returned to my car, I found that it had been dive-bombed by a particularly vicious seagull. Not just any old seagull. This one must have been dining on a vegetarian restaurant’s entire stock of seeds, nuts and pulses, washed down with superglue and three tins of white paint.
The chain of events was now painfully clear. A gull must have overhead my innocent jest about the taxis and instantly winged its way ahead of me to the car park and before delivering its full bomb load in one graceful swoop.
Alfred Hitchcock was right. Our feathered friends do have an over-active sense of revenge when they think that we are being sarcastic about them.
Look to the skies, my friend. Look to the skies.
And if you drive to Brighton, try not to park on the top deck of a multi-story car park.