I've written a few blogs about how helping others is the most pointless and thankless thing you will ever do. This is almost another one. I hate helping. It takes ages, it's boring and I don't want to do it. Those are all valid reasons to never help another living being ever again. But, stupidly, I have done it again and this blog might be in danger of being a bit feel-good. That said, it will feature me telling old people to go away and shouting at teenagers. So, business as usual.
Like all good blogs, this story begins in the park. I don't normally walk Jerk as late as 4.45pm and I don't really know why. It's a good time for dog walks. No other dog walkers are around and the nutters have got all tired from a full days shouting at trees. It's peaceful. A bit I-Might-Get-Stabbed-And-Killedy but definitely peaceful. If you put the darkness and fear just to one side, it's almost relaxing. Calm. Tranquil. And it's always at those times when BANG!, a seagull falls out of a tree.
It fell right out of the tree and landed about 12 feet in front of me. I've only started to get into the beauty of bird spotting and although I don't know the names of all the birds I see in the park this was definitely a British seagull because when it fell from the tree it looked embarrassed and tried to act like it meant to fall. One second after falling it immediately tucked it's legs under it's body and sat down. You know, that normal way of falling 12 feet to settle down for the evening. He could act as nonchalant as he wanted but there was no doubt about it, Gary (I called him Gary) was in pain. So, what to do?
I didn't want to touch him because if he's hurt, I might make it worse. That and EEEUUURRGGGGHHH! IT'S A FUCKING SEAGULL!!! EEEEUUUUUURRRRRGGGGGHHHH!! So I got on my phone and tried to find the number for Lewisham Council's Animal Welfare which was easily found inside Lord Lucan's hand in The Lost Ark buried underneath Atlantis. It took a while is what I'm saying. I called and it went straight to answering machine. "Animal Welfare is closed. Our office hours are between 8.30am and 5pm". True to their word, it was 4.48.
For the next five long minutes I stood right by a cawing broken bird while holding Jerk on a tugging lead with one hand and a frustratingly informationless iPhone in the other. I tried to get in contact with the RSPB, the nearest Vet and even the local Dog Warden (really) but got nothing from any of them. By now I was attracting the attention of other people. Other people who could CLEARLY see me struggling with a phone, a dog and Gary. Did they help? FUCK, NO. They were too busy doing what the human race does best: standing there open mouthed and doing fuck all. I mean, for Christ's sake. Why would ANYONE want to stand around WATCHING someone try to look up appropriate phone numbers? Surely the stupid cunts guessed what I was doing? The wailing seagull must have been a bit of a clue. But no. They just stood there watching and watching and watching and watching and doing fuck all. It SHOULD go without saying that I cracked. I eventually turned to an old woman and said "WHAT?" really loudly. "Is it hurt?", the stupid fucking cunt said. Sadly, this was nowhere near the stupidest question I would be asked during this pain in the arse moment of my life. I explained what had happened and she and the git I assume was her husband just nodded while I wrestled with a bastard iPhone and a bored dog. "What are you doing?", I said fully aware how rude I was being. "Just helping", she said. WHAT? Jesus Christ. "It's fine. You can go away". It was the nicest that I could be. But they stood there like cunts and insisted on "helping" with their staring and their nothing. That's when the teenagers walked by.
The teenagers spotted Gary who, although he still hadn't budged an inch, was looking around and wailing. The teenagers looked at the noisy bird and....
Well, just put yourself in my place. I was being stared at by idiots, I couldn't find anyone to help me on the phone and Jerk was trying to pull my arm out of my socket. So don't jusdge when you hear my reaction to the teenagers, OK?
The teenagers looked at the noisy bird and one said "Is it alive?"
"FUCK OFF", I shouted. Completely justifiably.
This pretty much got rid of all onlookers, although the old couple still took a while to go. While they finally shuffled away I got hold of the RSPCA who asked a billion questions and promised that they would send someone to pick up Gary sometime in the next billion years. That meant me and Jerk waiting with Gary. For ages. Ages? HE MIGHT DIE IN AGES! Fuck fuckitty fuck. It was time to man up, if saving a seagull can ever be an example of manning up. There was no way I could wait on the RSPCA, I HAD to get it to the vets. But how? It would be too icky in my hands and I had nothing to carry Gary in. I looked around for a good receptacle but there was nothing. There was no way I could safely hold a seagull in a leaf. I was going to have to carry him in my clothes. I was wearing my favourite jumper, the one I just had dry cleaned last week. Balls. I took off my coat and my favourite jumper revealing my inspiring Chicks Dig vegans t-shirt and carefully bundled Gary into it.
This was actually brilliant. I was doing something really brilliant. I was saving a fucking seagull. I have never saved a seagull or met someone who saved a seagull or even heard or someone who saved a seagull. Finally, I was an individual. I was going to get Gary to the vet and the vet would save him. I was not going to lose Gary. I've already lost one Gary this week so calling him Gary was the only sensible thing to do. NO ONE has ever lost two Gary's in one week so, by law of probability, this seagull is saved! It's the motherfucking feelgood story of all fucking time. I will walk into the vets a hero. They will take Gary, thank me and give me a little crown. I. Am. Great.
The first thing the vet said was "Do you want your jumper back?"
It's the best jumper in the world, mate. It looks great AND it's saved the life of a seagull. Show the jumper some respect. It turns out that Gary's wing is broken and it should be fine. I realise this isn't a guarantee that Gary isn't going to be put down but at least I took the chance. And I'm glad I did. I've spent so few moments of my life nursing a seagull in my jumper that it made me think what have I really been doing with my life? Hanging out with a seagull is just such a rush. There is not one single solitary second that you spend hanging out with a seagull where you don't think "Wow. I'm hanging out with a seagull". Plus, I was doing it for Gary's welfare and nothing else. I guess during the hour that I knew Gary we became comfortable. Close. Friends. I liked Gary and I like to think that when I held him in my hands he was knew he was loved.
"By the way", said the vet just before I left. "You have an oustanding bill of £81 from last August".
You BASTARD, Gary! You fucking tricked me. You went this far just to make sure I paid a bill? I did it for love, GARY! You did it for money. Sniff...
That part of the story has made me laugh since it happened. I helped, it felt good, I got slammed with a bill. Life in a nutshell.
The totally best part of all was Jerk. Jerk was off lead when Gary dropped in to our lives and she immediately darted towards him. Jerk is a dog bred to kill small animals. It's in her DNA to see Gary, shake him to death and then bring him to me as a present. But when I said "Leave" she stopped in her tracks and sat down. She reigned it all in even though it might be the one and only time she'll see a completely defenceless animal to attack. I'm just saying, she's great. Let's spare a thought for Gary tonight, friends. Hope he's OK. Jerk is on the sofa being fussed.