saint-louise's Diaryland Diary

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Fowl in the Box; or, For Love or Nervous Breakdown.

I was just thinking that the entry I wrote yesterday might have given the impression that I am going to start spilling the most angst-ridden details of my past in an effort to purge demons, or insecurities, or bowel disorders, or the roots of evil that make it impossible for me to enjoy eating shrimp or watching movies that star Doris Day. Rest assured that this is not the case.

It might be more interesting if I wrote about Things That Should Not Be Named, but let’s all stand together, hands clasped, and face this fact: It should be evident by now that I’m not at all concerned with being interesting in the least. Come on, people. Have you read my older entries? Yeah. And by that I mean, duh.

Therefore, the stories that are really “Woo hoo! Check that shit out!” will not be put into words here, mainly because:

A) Everyone has a terrible story to tell. All of us have had bad things happen to us. Some are worse than others, and sometimes the degree of badness is entirely relative. I’m not interested in a pissing contest. My bad stuff. My coping techniques. My business.

B) At least one of my most terrible stories involves other people whom I love and respect. Although there have been, and continue to be, countless jokes made between family members and close friends about this trying time of life, we’re the only ones allowed (or perhaps willing) to make those jokes. I’m not going betray anyone’s privacy in an attempt to explain the humor which will undoubtedly make most people shift uncomfortably and suddenly realize that they have a previous engagement. “Will you excuse me, please? (My god, the in-ter-net is just lousy with insensitive affronts to upstanding Americans, isn’t it?)”

Also, see “A.”

Right. Now that that’s out of the way, I’d also like to mention that the major realization in my life that I intend to write about first is taking a lot longer than I had anticipated to put into satisfactory words. In the meantime, I’ll lay my annual bird story on you, a tradition for the past few years here at Saint Louise that serves to emphasize just how much of my mind I’ve lost (i.e., all of it).

On Wednesday afternoon, my daughter discovered a baby finch flailing around on the ground in front of our apartment. It was still too young to sustain long periods of flight, and was therefore at the mercy of the various animals and sociopaths-in-training living in my apartment complex. After some discussion about what to do, my mother—

(Ahem. Some of you know my mother pretty well, so you know what’s coming. For the rest of you: pay attention the technique I apply in this situation. It may help you out some day.)

—my mother gave me some sound advice by informing me that I had two choices, from her perspective. I could either make “some calls” to find someone to come pick up the bird (“Hello? Is this ‘Anderson, J.P.’? Do you take care of baby birds that aren’t endangered and don’t appear to be injured in any way? Ah. Well, no…I’m just working my way through the phone book. Thanks anyway.”). If I didn’t go with this option, my mother said calmly, I might as well “go outside right now, get a rock, and BASH THE BABY BIRD’S BRAINS IN.”

Here’s the technique to deal with this kind of sound advice: Sigh. Rub your eyes in resignation. Find a comfortable spot on the floor. Lie down and play dead. Eventually, Mother will stumble upon a compromise that she considers to be acceptable. Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES, should you propose any compromises that you’ve come up with, no matter how logical they may be. Trust me, my technique is a much faster and less painful process.

In the end, Mom gave in and made the necessary calls herself. And my job was to drive the baby finch from the south side of Salt Lake City aaaaaall the way to the very north side, to the home of a woman who cares for injured and abandoned birds.

That’s right. I’ve gone past quail voyeurism and duck behavioral analysis. I am now a bird taxi.

Taylor and several hundred neighborhood children volunteers were tasked with catching the bird. After an explosion of activity, I was left holding a small “Hello Kitty” shoebox containing one small finch with post traumatic stress disorder, and I was surrounded by a mob of wild-eyed, excited children, gnawing on each other’s limbs and shrieking wordlessly. Or maybe there were words. I was too busy to really pay attention, as I trying to get the bird away from them and into the car before we were both consumed alive.

During our journey, the baby finch came to and began a running commentary on my driving, the route I was taking, and my music choices. It went like this:

“Peep. Peep peep.”

Long pause.

“Peep.”

Pause.

“PEEP. PEEP.”

Sudden stop at a red light.

FLURRY OF WINGS. SHOE BOX LID MOVING. SWEARINGSWEARING. HOLDING THE LID DOWN WHILE TRYING NOT TO COVER UP THE AIR HOLES. CHIRP. CHIRP. CHIRP.

Ha ha!, I think, merrily. If only I could do this every day!

Some side details, for those of you who are wondering:

Q: Did you sing to the finch in the car on the way there? You know, kind of like how you stop your car next to ducks, roll down the windows, and sing to them?
A: Yes. I can’t help it. I’m certifiable.

Q: Did you make it to your destination okay?
A: No. I died.

Q: Was the baby bird injured?
A: Nope. According to Tasia, the Bird Lady who lives in BFE (wowthat’sgreat), it just needed a few more days to mature before it would be able to fly well.

And that was that.

All in all, I did it for my mother. Of course I wouldn’t have left a helpless young animal without giving some form of assistance. I still feel terrible about the baby bird I failed to rescue ten years ago because in my massively pregnant state I couldn’t waddle fast enough to shoo away a prowling cat. See? Bird issues, I’m telling you.

But I find myself rushing to make Mom as comfortable as possible when I can, even if it means raising the plight of one baby bird to Emergency Level Code Red.

Mom has many health problems, which prevent her from (among other things) being able to drive very well anymore, and therefore she doesn’t get out very often. She isn’t able to live on her own, so she stays with Taylor and me. And yet (in addition to all she did to raise her children) she has helped me, as a single mother, in more ways than I can begin to document here. Sometimes, even when I think it’s impossible, she does even more, without complaint. She is a mother in a way that many mothers still are, but aren’t widely recognized or lauded for anymore.

Mom is often exasperating, yes. But above all that she’s selfless, fiercely loving, protective, funny, and gentle. I wish there were some way for me to really express how much I appreciate her, but when it comes right down to it, it still seems like so very, very little in comparison.

Make no mistake: this isn’t a mother’s day entry.

That wouldn’t be enough thanks, by far.

Love you, Mom. (You crazy, old woman.)

2:05 p.m. - 2005-05-06

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