I lived in Manhattan for thirteen years without ever being shat on by a pigeon. But now I dust off my Wellingtons to come in for a visit and get hit within the first hour.
I saw the culprit out of the corner of my eye and it looked like a pigeon but, judging from the sheer volume of the deposit, it must have been a pterodactyl. The thing got my coat in no fewer than seven spots. It’s as though it knew I was an imposter, walking around Manhattan in yard-sale jeans and a bad haircut.
One of my city errands was to see our accountant, who is Chinese. Henry told me that, in his cultural tradition, this is considered good luck. But Henry has a reputation for lying through his teeth about his cultural tradition, trading on its reputation for inscrutability to say any damn thing he pleases. Later, though, both my friend Nadia, who is French, and my agent, who is Indian, told me the same thing.
So, according to the multi-cultural consensus, the message was “bonne chance.” I still think it was “hayseed, go home.”