I’m tired of trip talk, so I figured I would compose some deep philosophical collection of insights or talk about birds. I flipped a coin…
I have had two birds in my life. Skeeter was a manic Lovebird that died an early death due to falling from the top of his cage. It was very traumatic for both of us.
Gonzo was a cockatiel and lived to be 15 years old, choosing to pass away while I was on my first business trip ever (New York) around three years ago. My mom had to keep him in the freezer until I could come home and we could have a proper burial. It was very traumatic for all three of us (especially Gonzo.)
Gonzo could say one thing, “Pretty bird,” but chose to whistle quite an array of notes. Most popular on his play list was a wolf-whistle and the “da-da-da-DA-da-da!” thing that comes before “charge!” (He never said “charge,” but we just went with it.) At night we would cover his cage with a Peanuts bedsheet and he would cuddle with his pacifier/girlfriend toy hanging from his cage, closing his little bird eyes and rubbing the top of his head on the strings.
Minus the occasional feathered freak-out, he was a gem.
The guy I dated for entirely too long had a Quaker parrot that was like this little sharp-beaked person. He could say a lot of things that actually made sense: “Bad birds go to jail” when he was being put back in his cage for biting someone (usually me. He was a jealous bastard); “Trigger want a bath” when they put him in the sink; “Bless you,” “I love you” and “Good night, sleep tight” at appropriate times. This was more than 10 years ago, so his go-to conversation starter was singing “Mr. Big Stuff” from the Burger King commercials.
It was cute the first 1,000 times. After that, “Loud birds shut their mouths” was introduced into the vocabulary, but never quite caught on. But the funniest thing about this bird was that he had an array of seemingly innocent plastic toy rings hanging from the top of his cage.
One day we were in the other room and heard the strangest sound, almost like a panting with a couple little squeaks thrown in. We walked into the bird’s room and it stopped, so we went back out. A couple minutes later it started back up again, so we quietly crept back around the corner to see what he was doing.
The little feathered freak had one bird leg straddled over the rings and was humping away like a parrot porn star.
From that point on, any time we heard the rings rattling and the panting coming from that area of the house, we just gave him his space and let him do his thing.
But there was the time when the boyfriend and me were on vacation and his mom — who was bird sitting— called us frantic one night because something was “tragically wrong with Trigger.” She said he was having seizures on his rings and was taking shallow breaths and moaning.
It was at that point that the little dude won my heart over once again, as anything that could be done to rattle that old bat’s cage and distract her from commenting on my “wild” hair colors or choice of clothing was a much welcomed break.
Anyway, I don’t have a bird now, and quite honestly, I probably never will again. But it was fun while it lasted and as long as someone else owns it, I still think they’re pretty neat—especially when they go grocery shopping.
Don’t ask me why, but I love this. A bird after my own food-loving heart–and not my flesh.