I’m out for a walk with the dog. Let’s hear it for city parks that have dog-friendly open spaces! As my four-legged friend races around feverishly after the scent of a rabbit, without failing to douse all the snowdrops growing along his path, I glance at the man walking ahead of us. He’s dressed head-to-toe in black. A bomber jacket, tight black pants, high-top army boots and a beanie. His gait is characteristically macho: arms bent and held away from is body, with each step his shoulders swaying exaggeratedly from left to right. Uneasy, I look for the scary dog I expect to see and slow my step in order to increase the distance between us.
Suddenly he stops and stands still, making an odd sounding whistle. Taking something from his pocket he tosses it onto the grass about a meter away from where he stands and a pair of black jackdaws gather around him. Curious I continue walking. The sound he is making is almost identical to the call of the jackdaws, and it’s dog cookie crumbs that he’s tossing on the ground. My dog, who I would expect to react aggressively towards the man as he doesn’t normally like macho types, gives him a quick friendly look and continues on. The macho, who as it turns out isn’t so macho, starts talking to me in a similar tone to the old woman who used to be my neighbour. He tells me that every morning he comes to the park to ‘enjoy the birds singing’. And darn it, if they don’t recognize him too. Followed by his cackling friends, the macho who isn’t so macho, happily moves on leaving me behind, red-faced with embarrassment. How does that saying go again: Don’t judge a book by its cover?