Why do I keep seeing one bloody magpie? I’m always looking for another, you know, ‘two for joy’. I don’t want the sorrow but it seems to be following me. Perhaps it’s just something to do with autumn. Perhaps this sorrow is not about me at all. Perhaps it’s just the general change in season, like nature’s reminding me to let go of the old and make way for new. The trees are shedding their leaves, all those gorgeous golden tinged light stretchers. They’ve climbed so high to reach for the light their greediness has let them down. Their tree green hands have been scorched and turned red, orange, yellow and brown. They’ve killed themselves. Sorrow is upon them.
Nature doesn’t seem to mind. Sorrow’s just part of the course, you know, that infinite evolutionary episode repeated year after year – life, death, rebirth. At least for nature it’s always around the same time so you know what’s going on.
Weird neuroses have been saved for so-called Homo sapiens (“wise men”), but not nature. The trees don’t see solitary magpies as containers of sorrow. I suppose the trees might be struck by lightening, or chopped down to make our newspapers – all that print about sorrowful events quickly binned or wrapped around chips, well, maybe not around chips anymore, but it’s got rid of quick, has to be to make way for more sorrow.
There’s never any good news in the news. I have seen an independent paper called Positive News but you only ever find it in the hippie shops and cafes. It’s not mainstream, not popular. It’s not mass produced and marketed and drummed so far down our throats that we’re not even given a chance to decide if we want to swallow it. Positive News is laid delicately around shops where the vibe is set up to be easy baby. It might even have the faint whiff of incense as you pick it up, or a splattering of lentil dhal or a chai tea stain. It could be laden with any number of those Eastern reminders; little hints to places where life is more about finding fulfilment within rather than out. Countries where there seem to be more Gods than there are dictators. Positive News is all about being positive, not like those crazy rags that waffle on about serial murderers, undignified bankers, paedophiles, politicians and the like.
I wonder if the world would change if we weren’t force fed so much negativity. I remember something my Mum used to say about being allowed to play out on the streets when they were younger. They’d go off out into the woods at the bottom of the garden and be free to just roam around for hours. Her parents didn’t mind because there either weren’t so many serial murderers and paedophiles around, or they hadn’t heard about them. They didn’t have so much fear breeding from the negative news, chopped from the trees because of all those magpies.
Kids these days don’t have that freedom. Even at school there’s rigorous checking to see if any employees might have the slightest suggestion of fancy for a teenager in a short tartan skirt, little white knickers flashing cheekily as she struts, her blonde pigtails swaying left, right, left, right, left, right, left. Her socks are pulled up to the knees, white shirt unbuttoned low and tied at the waist. There’s nothing military about it. Poor men.
Still, all this doesn’t explain my obsession or should I say this one magpie’s obsession with me. They’re kind of crow like, aren’t they, magpies. Black, with an ominous looking beak, one that’s hooked and hard looking, could easily peck your brains out if it really wanted. Like that Hitchcock movie where they all swoop down and, well, peck people’s brains out. But they were definitely crows and this is just one magpie, or a series of lonely singletons searching for solace within my vision, passing their sorrows on to me.
Do they mate for life, magpies? You know, like seahorses and swans do? There’s that continuation again, although there’s no solace and sorrow with paired up seahorses and swans. Magpies can be seen in groups. How’s that rhyme go fully? One for sorrow (we know that one, alright), two for joy, three for a girl and four for a boy. Five for silver, six for gold and seven for a secret never to be told. I’ll have to look it up. Didn’t bring my phone this time. Bloody Google. I don’t know how we ever knew anything before the internet. Perhaps people generally knew more so that when those questions like, ‘what is a butterfly collector called’, or ‘how high is Mount Everest’ come up, they’d be the smug ones in the pub quiz firing out all the answers. There’s nobody around right now at all, let along a smug quiz-winning drinker. I’m not sure if I’d want to see one of them anyway. I’d rather wait until I got home to the safe, comfortable confines of my own nest and pop it into Google.
Maybe that’s the real reason why people don’t talk so much anymore – we’re all a bit scared of looking stupid. We’ve been following the order so long; go to school, college, uni’ (of course some just skip the last two and head straight into learning on the job), digest what we’re told, memorise it so we can prove our memory skills and then go on to do the same with work. Do as you’re told over and over and over like a miniature cymbal….. Of course there are some who think outside the box, as it’s called, like the box is our well-ordered society and then there are some people who figure out how to escape out the top of the maze, set up their own company, still within the box, but above the first level container, and start their own maze. Money keeps us well within the box. We have to survive. And there’s not much time once you’ve learnt all that you’re given, gone to work to earn money to pay for your home, food, clothes, car…
FUN. Of course there’s fun. There has to be some kind of outlet, there’d be riots otherwise. Allow these “wise-men” to neutralise their brain just a little bit more with alcohol. And make them pay for it too. Make it expensive and illegal to be done on the streets. If someone wants to get out of their paid for home, outside of work, in their fancy clothes, so as to attract a mate doing the same thing, then make them pay for it. Of course it’s often escapism. Perhaps sex is escapism too – pleasure outside the box. Our real joy can’t be contained, can it? That’s why it’s used to sell us all the things we don’t need because it’s the biggest thing that gives us pleasure, which in turn keeps us connected, reproducing, sheep-like.
The sorrow’s really got to me now. It’s like the magpie’s shot down a forceful load. Being shat on by a bird is supposed to be good luck, but that might well be another thing we’ve told ourselves to make ourselves feel better – another thing to Google. I wonder what I’d feel like if a solitary magpie shat on me, would that bring good luck and then sorrow, or sorrow and then good luck or both at the same time, like winning the lottery and then having a major heart attack so that you’re left completely paralysed and unable to enjoy any of your prize and have to spend it all on people to look after you, people who resent their jobs and are only over here doing these jobs because they have no money in their country and they’re hungry and fed up of being poor and cold and wanting. So they come here and feel resentment for the shit jobs they have to do. What happened to vocational care, huh? Time was when people wanted to care for others. Sure, there are still some about….
Gah! I have to shake this. It’s like an evil neurosis. Perhaps that magpie has laser vision that snipes into our brains and tranquilises any positivity. Where’s that Positive News rag when you need it. I could protect myself with that. Maybe I just shouldn’t go out. There’s always something out there to get you – serial killers, paedophiles, indignant bankers and politicians. But I’ve got to go to work to pay for my house.
I suppose the council might give me a house. They’re all in such competition these days they wouldn’t want to see me out on the streets, cold and hungry, begging. That would bring their ratings down. I wonder if there’s someone who’s paid to go around all the different council areas in England and count how many homeless people there are on the street. There must be, otherwise how would they know. I wonder if they take photos, or names. They’d have to give them something in return. I suppose they get a number but that’s not given to them as such, it’s placed on their heads, heavy with shame. The councils probably work hard to get them off the streets, out of their numbers and back into a home. But then there are social housing numbers to consider, so they make it harder for you to just sit at home. You have to go in and tell them why you’re not working. They give someone else a job to question you about why you’re not working or how you’ve been trying to find work or what they might have available. They give people jobs to go through interview skills, preparing for an interview – the right etiquette. The cycle of give and take, give and take, like Neanderthal sex perhaps – not real true soul connection. Just wham, bam, thank you for my paycheque ma’m. How many people really care about their job? Do parking wardens think, oh yeah, I’m gonna get up and fine as many people as I can today. Maybe they do. Maybe they enjoy seeing people stung. Maybe they saw so many single magpies that they felt they had to take all that build up of sorrow out on others, share the load kind of thing.
It’s all just recreation of the species – sorrow, pain, pleasure, pleasure from pain, including other peoples. Like those fetish clubs where people get dressed up in machine-like wear, all leather and rubber and metal. They go ready to be punished or punish other people. They like it, that pleasure out of pain. Like being told off when you were a kid. A spank. It’s naughty enjoyable. Attention. Freud would have a field day today. Were there fetish clubs in his day? Maybe they just weren’t written about. Maybe news was reserved for the higher classes who preferred to keep their dungeons to themselves. Everyday people just worked then; they didn’t have time to read or learn further than how to use money or other essentials like bread baking. I suppose the box was smaller then.
Maybe that’s why magpies are associated with wanting shiny things too, because they’re like greedy bankers and politicians who have reincarnated into these strange one, two, three, four, five, six, seven pack birds. What happens if you saw eight? Does that happen? Would nature play such a trick? Surely it’s in on the game? Lone magpies are consumed with guilt and shame, which is why they impart such sorrow. Together they’re joyful because they can work in pairs, sneaking off to attack as many people as possible with their sorrow, occasionally caught in twos, of course – conniving. I won’t bore you with the rest – you know how it goes. But it says something about this desire for shiny things, why else would there be the association if not for reincarnated wankers and the like?
Ha! It’s funny, how the mind associates. How you can play games with your own so-called knowledge. All that gumpf you’re force fed through school, college, university, work, news. I wonder if the world would change if we started reading the Positive News on the train to work every day. Would nature not repeat its shedding of leaves every autumn, warning us to drop it, let go, move on. Would the magpie’s solitary appearance not hinder our paths any longer? It’s difficult to tell. I guess we have to make up our own minds.