Thursday, June 10, 2010


I have a syndrome. 'Bird Watching Syndrome'

As far as we can tell, I have had it all my life and started showing symptoms around the age of six.

It involves the need to see a bird, any bird every 20-30 seconds or so. The bird must be alive, a simple picture of a bird will not suffice. It will lessen the ill effects, but it will not suffice. I carry a pocket full of scrunched up wattle birds and princess parrots for when real birds are not to be seen.

It is not a common syndrome as far as I can tell, infact Ive not heard of it before. Doctors may have, however Ive never consulted one before...It is not the type of thing a general practitioner would empathise with in my mind. Those close to me know about it....much to their chagrin

I scream fits of blue murder if the alloted time should pass without me seeing a bird. It's a problem. I spend each passage of time (20-30 seconds) counting down and scanning the sky, the trees, gutters on houses, bushes, telephone wires, chimneys, TV antennas and any other domesticated object, for a bird. Should one not appear, I immediately spill into a fit of screaming, mock convulsions, grabbing at my pockets for my princes parrot until a real bird should flutter by and start the clock all over again....

The relief I feel as a bird comes into view whether at the 7 second mark or the 47 second mark is palpable and my whole family, breathes a sigh of relief. But that sense of relief is quickly brushed aside as the clock starts again. My exhausted face, tenses again and the inner count begins...

It happens in bed, on trains, at school, the workshop, at a bar, during Christmas, eating spaghetti, Sunday afternnons, Tuesday I said.

Every 20-30 seconds.

There is no cure. I don't want one anymore.

I just want birds.

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