I was at the Museum of Fine Arts this sultry afternoon, having a nice, chatty lunch in the courtyard with a colleague, when we heard a loud "splat" from the tree above our heads. I looked up, and then down to find three generous gobs of bird droppings on my new summer skirt.
"Well, they say that's good luck," I said quietly, while silently repeating my favorite one-syllable profanity. Sometimes the Proper Bostonian manages to appear poised. It is a façade.
I was drinking seltzer, so I applied some to the mess with napkins, removing the muck but leaving blackish stains.
As I left the building, I realized I'd lost my favorite hat, a cute newsboy model that exactly matches my skirt and fits on my oversized head.* (It is adorable on its own merits; less so on me, as is the case with all hats.) Both are Ines de la Fressange for Uniqlo, and I snagged each on sale for less than ten bucks. Being a thrifty Proper Bostonian, I don't care who knows it.)
I went to Information Center and asked about Lost & Found, feeling pessimistic. Back when I worked at the Museum, Lost & Found was a haphazard, eccentric system. Let me just say that, in those days, employees in the know never had to buy umbrellas. And I still have this lovely pashmina... but never mind.
I was surprised to see my hat in the L&F box. I had just used up my bird-poop-good-luck allotment.
People who saw me walking home in my soaked, splotchy skirt probably assumed I'm still learning to eat with a fork. And, naturally, I ran into some members of the neighborhood association on my way, too. And then I passed this multimillionaire lady, whom I recognized but do not know. She stared at me, briefly but hard. I wondered why... until I realized that she now thinks that women in Back Bay like to spit up blackberries on themselves.
Back home, I applied soap, detergent, Nature's Miracle (for cats, but it has enzymes), OxiClean, and a Stain Devil solution (for blood and milk). No luck. It's in the washer now and I'm sure its next stop will be the dry cleaner, which will cost more than the skirt. If they can't eradicate every trace of that seagull, pelican, osprey, or whatever large-capacity bird it was, I'll be sorry to lose that skirt. But I am beginning to think it's hardly a lucky one.
* I don't understand why most hats are too small for me, while most eyeglass frames are much too large. There is usually only one tiny frame in any given shop that fits me, unless they sell children's frames. Something's way off. It's best to stop thinking about it.