I have been reading an article on sex addiction. Well, you would wouldn't you? Apparently the issue is not with sex itself but in one's relationship with sex. Problems arise when sex becomes the primary coping mechanism, the main way in which we use something to alter our emotional state.
But what if I substitute the word “birding” for sex? Is birding my primary coping mechanism? Could I be addicted to birding? I decide to analyze a typical work day, in which I am not going birding, to see if birding has become my primary coping mechanism:
7am: I am asleep, having a recurring nightmare in which I have lined up a summer plumaged male Wallcreeper in full sun on a rock-face right in front of me, but my camera can't focus, leaving me looking at an unfocused mass of black and purple. I wake up and realize this must be a dream: you don't get full sun in a gorge.
7.30am Have breakfast and read while I do so, at present from “Birding from the Hip” the latest manna from The Sound Approach heaven.
8am: Leave for work, checking the post for British Birds, Birding World, Dutch Birding, Birdwatch, Woodcock Weekly or any other birding related items. I then cycle to work, noting the lack of Waxwings, Woodcock and nearly anything else in Cuddesdon.
9am – 5pm: Work. I treat my patients, and in quiet moments my mind wanders onto other random issues: how can I reduce the vignetting when I video through my 'scope? Who decided on the name of Isabelline Warbler for Western Olivaceous Warbler in the new edition of the Collins guide? When will the Photographic Handbook of WP Birds ever be published?
5pm: Cycle home. An opportunity to plug in the earphones and get to grips with those tricky Pipit flight calls. I note the absence of any birdlife in Cuddesdon as I return.
6pm: Dinner at home, hopefully followed by a bird related TV program (but not the excretable Bill Bailey's Birdwatching Bonanza).
10pm: I fall into a deep slumber of Wallcreeper induced paranoia.
Conclusions: I must be totally normal. Surely this is a typical day for nearly everyone?
And then there are the days when I do actually go birding....