Saturday, September 24, 2011

Birthday Series #5 - Do I want Craig to get a bird for Christmas?

Like many of Craig’s ideas it came to him at a party, yes one where alcohol was served. His friend Melanie has a bird named Birdie (maybe Bertie, LOL) who was fun to interact with, at least on a limited party basis. One of her other party guests was also a bird owner and he was talking about the joys of bird ownership. I don’t know how serious Craig was about all this or how serious I want him to be… I might prefer a bird to a fish tank – maybe…fish are something else he's expressed an idle interest in.

Before Craig moved in with me I had a female roommate who had a flea-infested dog (I didn’t realize back then that I liked dogs…wonder why…), fish who liked to turn nasty colors and float belly-up as soon as Linda went out of town (on one occasion I begged my uncle to come over and help scoop them out – I mean, I made him do the scooping), and a bird who never quieted even when his cage was covered, who had a great name (Beethoven) and would sit on your head without too much painful pecking but whose exit (he flew out the back door when Linda was spring cleaning) I didn’t lament too much. (Basically glad she couldn’t blame me, like she may have in the case of the fish.)

My parents used to have a decorative bird cage (yes, pink) in their 1950s-pink bathroom, and for some reason that I can’t quite remember it had a bird in it at one point – oh, I think Uncle Harvey had bought a decorative cage (larger than ours, white, nicer) for his Tomball house before he lived in it year-round, and it was too much hassle for us to keep walking over (3 whole small-town blocks) and feeding the birds in his cage so they were moved to our bathroom cage. There used to be 2 birds, then there was one, and on one sad day when he was out of the cage for some reason – had to be a cleaning, we didn’t think of recreation in those pre-Animal Planet days (nothing on our tiny black & white TV’s few channels addressed the un-socialized plight of pet birds) – my brother Dave stepped square on top of him. The bird was green & yellow, on a pink fluffy Polyester rug, but Dave is tall with large feet and while I don't think he had animosity, at that age he helplessly exhibited a teenage lack of awareness and clumsiness, so the outcome was sad and instantaneous. At my preteen age I found it ironically funny but I remember Dave feeling bad about what happened, so I know it was a pure accident, and I still feel bad for laughing (although I wasn’t sad I no longer had to clean that nasty cage).

Anyway, the Craig story – within 2 weeks of Craig’s friend’s party I had a weird synchronicity: when I stopped on the way home to buy dog food for Billie the customer in front of me, a little old lady with a brown wig that I knew wasn’t her hair (one of those crepe-y, cronelike old ladies who makes you worry about your own aging – sorry to interject this negativity, but it’s a birthday blog theme after all), was buying all manner of bird treats. The cashier, who had a name I thought I would remember but have already forgotten since I didn’t write it down (probably I could just ask for The Bird Man at Petco on Garland Road) gave her a lecture about caged birds really needing a lot of fresh fruit, plus pellets, and minimal other stuff. (“This is junk! You don’t need that unless you want to throw your money away.” He was hardly salesman of the year in terms of cash register receipts.) He was so gung-ho with bird info that he even followed her out to her car, talking. I thought , this could be a resource for Craig. (If I follow up on it for him.)

I don’t think Craig will bother to get a bird – research a bird, buy a bird – unless, yep, I follow up on it. So I could, should, just ignore the topic, given my mixed and mostly negative feelings. But the can-do part of me – and maybe part of the part that loves Craig – wants to nurture his desire for a bird. So I will probably bring it up again.

Craig has pointed at 3 different places in our house where he would put a bird cage – I would prefer the bird be in Craig’s pub – “his” room after all, and one I rarely walk through. But he’s right, the bird might prefer the more generous natural light that’s in the garden room (converted porch where we have a piano, wine rack and china cabinet – sometimes we call it The Grotto when we get bored with Garden Room). But that would mean the bird is right next to us when we sit in the den, watching TV. Maybe not ideal.

In Googling for a photo of Detective Baretta’s cockatoo (which I KNOW was part of Craig’s attraction to the idea) I also found a naughty image for Robert Blake’s “bird.” This kind of reflects my own mixed feelings on the subject.

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