The #$*(! Bird

Not the #$*(! bird. This is a normal chickadee. Note how quiet he is.

I am a city girl. Even when I haven’t lived in a city, I’ve been a city girl.

Don’t get me wrong: I can enjoy a beautiful sunset with the best of them, but please don’t ask me to do it from the doorway of a damp tent or while wearing a piece of clothing labeled “packable.” Or “quick-dry.” Or “bear tolerant.” I like my nature urban, preferably efficient and definitely law-abiding. And by “efficient,” I mean, “with paths,” and by “law-abiding,” I mean, “not violating noise ordinances.”

Case in point, the (*&$#! bird two doors down. Clearly unaware that the laws that apply to that ice cream truck that used to park in front of my place in Brooklyn apply to him too. Namely: you don’t get to park in front of my place in Brooklyn for an hour at a time playing the same fucking music over and over again.

I read a study a while ago where these noisologists  – I know that’s not what they’re called, but for the purposes of this conversation, let’s just go with it because I can’t find that article right now – were trying to find a place to record nothing. I don’t know why. They could have gotten one of those white noise machines if they felt like things were getting a little noisy, but I guess they must’ve had their reasons. They ended up going deep into some national park to see if they could record the sound of silence on tape. They couldn’t. They said it was the airlines or something, but that doesn’t sound like the whole story. I think it was one of these *&$#! birds.

He starts his yelling  birdsong as soon as the sun is up and, when I think to check, he’s still at it mid-afternoon. He must be trying to score. And he’s not that attractive, so I’m thinking he’s doing that thing where he hits on 1000 women so he can score once. Or maybe he scored once already and he’s just talking about it all the time now. Either way, super annoying.

(I assume the *&$#! bird is a him, although I haven’t personally confirmed it. I know some loud women, but it’s only guys – usually cyclists or snow sport fanatics – who a.) get up at some ungodly hour to go about their business, and b.) talk about what they’re about to do, what they’re doing, and what they just did  before, during and after. Most over-talking girls I know at least wait until brunch to get started.)

He’s selected the high ground for his exploits – the top of a tree on the top of a hill – which was a good call generally, but isn’t going to get the job done, if you know what I mean. This is a residential neighborhood. Not the kind of place you’re going to meet lots of available singles. Unless he’s looking to hook up with a baby or a plumber. There are a lot of both on our block. Which is weird. About the plumbers, I mean. Maybe they’re especially into having a view, what with the staring into pipes and what not all day. Anyway.

You’d think someone looking for a mate (or a one night stand – whichever – I’m not judging) would pick a higher traffic location, one with lots of people and maybe some liquor, but the closest bar isn’t for blocks and blocks. And it’s not a nice one either. It’s a kind of dive-y, well-drink-only place. Mostly guys who show up to start drinking at noon or stop in for the game. Unless the bird is gay and completely without standards, he’s going to be disappointed by those prospects even if he did head over there.

Not to say that he couldn’t be gay. And it’s fine if he is. But my impression of gay men is that they’re even choosier than women and those guys leaning on the doorframe at 2PM aren’t a lean, making-an-effort-at-Gold‘s breed, so if he is gay, he’s even farther off his mark than I already think he is.

There’s a coffee shop over by the bar. That’s a better target. Trendy. Crumb-dropping. That’s where he should be. Hitting on crabby, starved-looking hipster birds in skinny pants, languidly pretending they’re not interested in anything and listening to – let’s be honest – music that sounds like a slow-speed car crash of an untrained guitarist and an un-oiled baggage carousel.

But no, he’s over here, diving pointlessly up and down from the topmost branch of that tree, singing. And by “singing,” I mean, “repeating the same set of five-note variations 1000 times in a row.” It’s “singing” like a two year old’s tinkling the Fisher Price ivories is “piano playing.” And, unlike a two year old, he can’t be distracted from his efforts by cookies or jellybeans. I assume. Our snack shelf looks like Ronald Reagan and a Girl Scout had an illegitimate diabetic child that they left it in charge of our grocery shopping, but that bird sticks to his tree no matter how many treats get dropped on the way to the car or out in the yard.

I guess if I really wanted to see if he could be lured to decamp by snack food (or anything else – I’m open to suggestions), I could get a T-shirt cannon and fire a pack of Fig Netwons over to the tree.

Come to think of it, I could just get a T-shirt cannon and fire T-shirts over to the tree. A bird is no match for an all-cotton sphere with three decal wolves on it traveling at, I don’t know, 60 mph, right? (Is that how fast they go? Probably not, I guess, or concerts and morning shows would be a lot more like paintball. Which would be cool. I don’t know: 20mph?)

Judging by his current shenanigans though, he’s quick.

Also, while I’m urban, I’m not heartless: I don’t want him dead. Just gone.

Which sounds like the kind of thing you say over that prison phone thing that lets you talk to your hit man through the glass. “I’m not sayin’ I want him dead. God forbid, right? I’m not an animal… I’m just saying – hypothetically – if he did meet with an, um, unfortunate accident, I’m saying I wouldn’t be upset. God rest his soul. Not that I’m suggesting anything.”

It’s hard not to admire his tenacity though. I mean, he’s sticking with his obviously flawed plan every day for, like, eight hours. You have to admire that kind of ignorance of repeated failure, right? It takes a special kind of optimist to get up at the crack of dawn and make that kind of racket. He’s not showing up for his fail work bleary-eyed and sullen, keeping his head down and skipping meetings. No realistic assessments of his personal choices are going on over there. He’s all up on it, like one of those people who thinks every day is a great day when you know full well that statistically that can’t be true every day and you’re kind of braced for the day when they realize that and all those bad days come out in a torrent of tardiness and inappropriately pessimistic comments about this quarter’s planning, so you just kind of nod and keep your mouth shut about that bird that’s been driving you around the bend and, even though it’s nice to be right about things (even statistical ones), you  secretly hope you won’t be around when that one bad day comes. And that they’ll be all right in the end, of course, too. You know, with some therapy about getting in touch with their negative feelings and wearing more black or whatever. I don’t really know how that whole thing goes. I already wear a lot of black and no one mistakes me for an un-self-critical, meeting-attending optimist. (Even though I am. Really.) (OK, yes, I’m usually late for the meetings. And this bird thing is making me kind of nuts. But still: optimist. Underneath.)

Do you think they have bird therapists?

He’s not going to quiet down without that or a girl. More likely the girl, right? I don’t think I’ve ever been pulling more for the loud guy to hook up and head home already. I’ve always felt too bad for the woman who might end up being involved to really get behind his efforts. But there are girls who like that kind of thing though, so who am I to say it shouldn’t happen? Everyone needs their someone, right? So, *&$#! bird, here’s to you finding your someone. As soon as possible. Like yesterday. And don’t screw it up by mentioning your ex-girlfriend or how you’re an early riser. Girls just want you to be quiet for a minute and listen. Please.

Categories: House and Home, My Day, San Francisco (here)


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5 Comments on “The #$*(! Bird”

  1. Mano
    June 15, 2012 at 7:41 am #

    I feel your pain and raise you considerable. Now consider if the shitbag bird in question is a Mockingbird, with a car-alarm variety of “songs”, that he sits 5 feet outside your window, starts his set at 12:45 AM and goes until dawn, where he hands off to his less flamboyant buddies. My BB gun cannot arrive too soon.

    • emma
      June 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm #

      God – it must be an LA thing, Mano: my first trip to California was to LA where a mockingbird camped outside my window too. I thought I was going to lose my mind. Let me know if the BB gun works, yeah??

  2. June 17, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    sorry about your bird but he does make for a funny story. great writing. we farm on the alberta prairies so our lives are filled with lots of non-human voices but there are nights when i am driven to medication by the sound of hundreds and hundreds of frogs trying to hook up.
    i found you and your blog through She Writes. i would love for you to visit my blog
    new follower

    • emma
      June 18, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

      Hi Bev! Welcome – delighted you found me:) Yeah, ear plugs are the way I get any clear thinking done while the bird is at it. Bastard. I hope this is a seasonal thing… (Checked out your site as well – fantastic.)

  3. June 20, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    hi again, it’s your new friend bev. i just wanted to let you know that i nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award. all the details are on my blog.
    bev xx

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