Leslie Phelan ponders life as Mrs. Bird Lady
By Leslie Phelan
I walked past a notice for free kittens taped to a telephone pole on my street and I was SO tempted to call! The orange one seemed to peer right into my soul. For just a second, he was as good as mine . . . but then I remembered how terrible a litter box would be in my tiny apartment and I put my phone away.
Just then, I looked to my left and saw a seagull gliding beside me, keeping pace with my long-legged stride. His wingspan was regal, wings dark at the tips as if they were dipped in the blackest ink, and dappled all around with little grey spots. Generally speaking, I don’t think seagulls get enough love from humans. To most they’re just shit hawks who dive-bomb people’s French fries and crap on people’s heads. I say whatever to that. . . not like I’m dying to get pooped on from on high or anything but at the same time, pulling off an aerial dump is impressive. I have to admit that if I had the ability I would do it once or twice, and probably on someone’s head, just to be a hilarious jerk. Wouldn’t you? Don’t say you wouldn’t, liar . . .
But I digress. Birds are magical. They can swim AND fly and sing, beautifully. Well, seagulls can’t sing but anyway. I admire birds a lot and have many times thought about how cool it would be to have a parrot or a budgie or some sort of beautiful little tropical songbird to name and keep as my own. A nightingale, maybe? I would give it the most luxurious and elaborate wire cage, like the ones you see in movies depicting royal menageries, with perches and cozy nooks galore. My dad has a welding machine; I could seriously make this happen.
When I would go out on pretty days, my colorful little mascot would come with me. A little golden clasp around her left ankle attached to a long thread of the finest silk to keep her secured, so that she would be free to explore the winds and lower heavens without the risk of losing me. I’d walk around barefoot humming sweet tunes and wear flowing, delicate dresses to invite the comparison. Such a pair we would be!
Wait . . . I think I just figured out why people think bird people are crazy. It definitely looks kind of nuts when you see someone chirping at their bird like they speak the language, or repeating ‘pretty bird’ in that nasal way people say it when they’re addressing their avian friends. I think people think bird people are crazy because to an extent, bird people think they are birds.
There’s a guy who rides around my neighborhood on his bike with a parakeet on his shoulder. His bird is such a cool pet who loves to ride around. It makes me want to get one of my own so they can be friends. The dude is cute and really friendly and I don’t think anyone thinks he’s crazy . . . but unfortunately, his pirate-inspired gimmick makes him basically un-dateable. As neat an idea as it is, I just can’t see myself as the Mrs. to the Mr. Bird Man.