Gulls and Goobers

My unfinished gull paintings. Someday, gull. Someday. This guy posed for these two photos after I promised him he would be famous.

Gulls have been on my mind lately. Why I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I have these two paintings in the living room that I haven’t finished yet. Maybe it’s because the babies born this season in Pacific Grove are beginning to stretch their wings and take flight, yet they still lower their heads and call out for their parents to feed them. The one I saw today, gray and large, stood in the middle of the road pecking at a to-go cup lid. After it decided the lid wasn’t worth its time, the gull turned and began to strut away toward Central Avenue. Only the lid wasn’t done with it. A slight gust of wind, not enough to sway a branch or lift a skirt, blew over the lid and made it roll toward the gull as it walked (they kind of strut though, which I think I said already). The gull flipped out, thinking the lid had come to life and was chasing its ass down. I couldn’t help but laugh. It was a cute sight. The simplicity of it all hit me. And that felt nice. Maybe I’ve been thinking of them because they get a bad rap. I’ve always been a fan of the underdogs. So many may dislike them, but they’ve won me over.
They might be on my mind because of a Facebook post. I recently learned the book “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” was the best seller the year I was born. This led me to want to read it. Can you believe the book is $11.99 for a digital download? Must be a special read I suppose, and my Facebook friends seemed to think it is.
It could be a gull’s relationships fascinate me, its upbringing, how they all cling to California’s coastal cities with flippered tenacity; these things are so different than what we do. Some of it’s the same, but so much is different. Gulls hardly even bother to make much of a nest for their offspring and they’re a fierce lot. They communicate like crazy and seem totally okay with sharing the sidewalks and roads with us, though there aren’t a lot of us who could say the same. Maybe they’re not all that smart, but some are, and I find myself hard pressed to look away when I watch them interact. Human relationships veer and careen in so many directions, often leading to dead ends, often leading to some quiet spot where clothes are rarely worn and moaning speaks louder than promises, and often there’s shouting – the best ingredient for the best sex, the best novels, and the best telenovelas. Sometimes human relationships stay right on the course they were meant to take, despite the best efforts of the intellectual minds involved. For whatever reason, I find the simpler model the better one.
This isn’t to say people watching at the Monterey Fairgrounds won’t be a blast this year, but I bet I’ll notice the gulls hanging out waiting for some food to fall. And plenty of food will fall. They’re not that stupid.
The gulls are perfect for us.

Published by patrickwhitehurst

Patrick Whitehurst is a fiction and non-fiction author who's written for a number of northern Arizona newspapers over the years, covering everything from the death of the nineteen Granite Mountain Hotshots to Barack Obama's visit to Grand Canyon. In his spare time he enjoys painting, blogging, the open water, and reading everything he can get his hands on. Whitehurst is a graduate of Northern Arizona University and currently lives in Tucson, Arizona.

4 thoughts on “Gulls and Goobers

  1. Gulls are the perfect mix of badass and goober. I loved watching them from my office window when living in Santa Cruz. They would totally gang up on the hawks, probably because they hawks were honing in on a food source. It seems like the one-footed gulls found their way to me. Probably because I’d share my food out of sympathy for their unfortunate circumstances.

    Your paintings are beautigull!

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