Friday, March 16, 2012


Last night I read a really interesting article in our student newspaper entitled "Battle for the Skies". It was about seagulls, precisely about seagulls and the problems they cause in our little seaside town:

"Over the last few years, the seagull population has significantly increased, causing much irritation for residents of the town centre [...] the problems with seagulls have reached epidemic proportions. They are a real nuisance, with their droppings causing damage to cars, blocking drain pipes and guttering. There is als the noise they create in the early hours."
Despite the fact that the highly dramatic language of the article - I am still laughing at the phrases "battle for the skies" and "epidemic proportions" - gives a false and far too exaggerated impression of the issue, I have to confess that I, too, feel the pain. Ever since I moved to the Scottish coast, the frequent exposure to seagulls has impacted my life far more severely than I would like to admit to anyone: my behavior is influenced and adjusted to their presence. Not only am I woken up by their high-pitched screams in the early morning hours, but the act of such also informs me that it will be a sunny day even before I had a chance to look outside the window. I furthermore quickly learned that carelessly strolling down the street eating whatever pleases me at the given time will most likely result in being attacked by a seagull, attempting to greedily steal anything that looks remotely like food directly out of my hand. Their poop, too, is everywhere, sometimes even on me, but with time I got a pretty good grasp of the areas best to be avoided - lamp posts, house walls, trees, ... to give you an idea, in case you ever decided to move to a seaside town. What baffles me about the article, though, is not the fact that almost every person in this town can identify with and support the concerns raised - no, what truly baffles me is that out of all the things the world faces, all the problems, all the terrible news, all the hurt, pain and sorrow, a seagull epidemic has been identified as the most pressing issue to report about - and that I, ironically, sit in the midst of it, wondering whether I condemn such ignorance or secretly, deep down inside of me, cling on to and sympathise with the illusion that this really is the biggest issue we have to deal with.

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