My daughter has a Navy Corsair replica pedal plane. Her grandfather (my dad) sent it to her for her 1st birthday. She still can’t quite reach the pedals, but she enjoys being pushed around the yard in it. Sometimes she just sits in the seat and takes off on a flight of imagination.
The other day, my daughter and I were outside enjoying a delightful spring evening when she asked me to push her around the yard in her plane. It used to be that I could grab the steering wheel (the highest part of the airplane) to push it around. But these days, when I grab the steering wheel to steer and push the plane, she shoos my hand away with an emphatic “No, I do it!” and I push from the tail section. Since the Corsair is a tail dragger, the tail is the lowest part of the plane, requiring me to bend further and abuse my back even more. Add to this my daughter’s unreasonable desire not to ride on pavement, and I am pushing a fairly large pedal plane, complete with 2-year-old pilot, round and round through the grass.
We made a couple of circuits around the back yard before my daughter decided to “fly” her plane up to the hose reel, where she got out, grabbed the hose, and proceeded to fuel her plane. She was on her way around the plane with the hose when she noticed it.
“What’s that?” she pointed to the trailing edge of the left wing.
“That’s bird poop.” I replied.
“Birdie poop on my plane?!” She looked at me, her face filled with indignation. Then she turned away to find the guilty bird. Spotting a grackle feeding in the yard a few feet away, she wagged her finger. “Bad birdie!”
We called Grandpa Arduengo. “Grandpa, birdie poop on my plane.”
“Well, I know how you feel.” My dad commiserated.
I suspect everyone knows how she feels. Sometimes a bird flies over and poops on our plane–a part of life, simple and unavoidable. We may not be able to avoid the bird poop, but we can choose how we react to it, and I think my daughter’s response was instructive.
First, she let the bird know that she didn’t appreciate its poop on her plane. I often wonder if there would be less “bird poop” in the world if we were more persistent in pointing out the offenses to the guilty parties.
Second, she told people she trusts about the event. Venting is an important part of dealing with poop from any source, and we all need people around us whom we trust and to whom we can vent.
Third, she didn’t dwell on the poop, she moved on to something else. She looked at the soiled wing. “Humph.” She walked away and started making hand prints in some dirt that she dumped out of a planter onto the porch. She didn’t let the bird poop spoil the rest of the evening and the other “treats” that awaited her.
Fourth, she cheerfully helped clean up the poop, even though she didn’t make the mess. When I began to wash and polish the plane, she declared: “Lena help,” and grabbed a rag to help me clean her plane. So often we are unwilling to clean up poop left by other birds, but why? All we are doing is leaving toxic poop in our environment, for other people to encounter. If we can clean the poop, perhaps we should, and make the world a better place for everyone.
So, the next time a bird “poops on your plane”, think about your response. Let the bird know you are not happy about it. Vent to people who will understand and support you. Don’t let the poop ruin the rest of the wonderful things the day holds for you, and don’t be afraid to clean up the poop—to make the world a little better for everyone else.
©2009 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.