Somewhere in the late nineties, incessant talk of the benefits of yoga and meditation were thrust upon the western world. Ellen DeGeneres did a bit about what sort of things pop up in all the silence meditation creates. For her it was: Mama keeps whites bright like the sunshine. Mama’s got the magic of Clorox 2.
This has always resonated with me as a long time yoga practitioner because while meditation has tremendous benefits, sometimes just before I’m about to drift into a blissful silence something will pop up into my brain that makes me want to giggle.
Matt Damon, for example, on the Colbert Report dancing in a confetti booth to Daft Punk’s Get Lucky. BuzzFeed’s John Travolta-ized version of Benedict Cumberbatch’s name: Bento Timberbox. The scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds when Tippy Hedren so breezily operates an outboard motor until a bird puppet sort of awkwardly bumps her in the head.
Now I know the latter seems to belie a darker part of my subconscious, after all getting attacked by a bird isn’t funny, but I can’t help it. The thought of that scene has always made me giggle. In fact, I always felt the whole concept of The Birds was cartoonish at best. Who’s afraid of a bunch of birds?
Well. Leave it to Hitchcock to wait until we moved to Australia to avenge his film and forever change this image of Tippy in my mind from giggly to terrifying. He began slowly and unassumingly, a hallmark of his work. When we arrived in Sydney last year, he revealed to us only this sign in Darling Harbor.
Roughly nine months later we arrive in Brisbane and spot several people riding by with helmets that look like this <—-
“Hm,” I said to Michael, “what’s the story with all the festive hats?”
Then the stories from work began to roll in:
~The Company Manager said someone told him today not to take a certain route to work because there was a swooping magpie.
~The Assistant Stage Manager burst into the office today on the verge of tears because he was swooped by a magpie on his bike three times. It followed him.
~The Dance Supervisor was supposed to come over for a glass of wine tonight, but she was swooped by a magpie today. She’s ok, but it was so terrifying she decided to just call it a night.
Then one day Michael came home with a pile of zip ties and two huge laminated drawings of eyeballs.
“What’s happening here?” I asked.
“The ASM sent us home with these today. He said if we stick them onto the back of our bike helmets they will scare the magpies away when we’re riding. AND! That’s what these zip ties are for! People tie them onto their helmets so the birds can’t land on them.”
“What?? Why are birds trying to land on them? Is this Hitchcock’s way of getting me to think his silly Birds movie is scary? Because, it’s not going to work.”
“From August to October,” Michael said very seriously, “the magpies lay eggs. They think anyone or anything passing by is a threat to their young. So they attack them.”
“Oh,” I paused with the realization I know what that feels like, “that is terrifying.”
“Look at this,” Michael says.
“And this,” he adds, “is the Australian version of Anderson Cooper covering a Hurricane.”
So now when I finish my yoga class a thought bubble of Tippy Hedren no longer makes me giggle, but the thought of G with eyeballs on his helmet does a little bit. Just a little.