Public Parking
A journal for storytelling, arguments, and discovery through tangential conversations.
Shapeshifter(s): Pigeon People
Thursday, May 19, 2022 | Khairullah Rahim
The best time to catch pigeons in action is when the sun is up. Like us, these diurnal birds carry out most of their essential activities under the sun. When it sets, they retreat back to their warm and hidden shelters. Pigeons are also very hardy and are known to be unfastidious when selecting their homes; almost any spot that provides them with some kind of temporary cover, such as roofs, trees, and building ledges, will suffice. I used to always find excuses whenever friends asked to come over to my place after school. After I turned 18, I gradually stopped turning up at family gatherings. Even after five years of being in a committed relationship with my then-partner, I would quietly sneak into his bedroom by climbing through the window from the corridor whenever we had a sleepover. I wished everyone would have stopped asking why our families weren’t more hospitable to us. If only we were not so poor. Visibility and light are commonly associated with safety for the majority who fit in, but certain lights illuminate more intensely on some than others. For people like me (queer, brown, and poor), exposure comes with a fair share of risk and a lingering sense of shame. It was often the gentle shade and not the glaring light that offered me security when I needed it, especially in environments presumed to be safe, like around my family.