The summer in between elementary and middle school was pretty traumatic. One of my classmates was hit and killed by a car while riding his bike just down the street from where I lived. I hadn’t experienced anyone dying before, except for my super old and creepy great-grandfather. Admittedly, I used to be terrified of the elderly but am coming to terms with it, especially now that I’m middle-aged myself. I will blame my irrational fear of old people on the Pine Kirk nursing home because THAT place was horrifying. Those of you from Kirkersville know all about that place and I’m sure you agree with me (am I the queen of tangents or what?) Anyway, I was forced to consider that even children die while doing something as simple as riding a bike. I didn’t ride my bike for the rest of the summer.
Just days after my classmate’s death, I was in my sister’s room checking out her pet bird. Now, this bird was a pretty blue bird but nothing exotic. It didn’t sing or talk or do anything special, it just sat in his cage. His only true moments of activity were when someone walked into the room, which would cause the bird to jump off his perch and scuffle across the bottom of the cage. Newspaper was shredded and bird seed scattered everywhere from his erratic movements. It wasn’t really what I would classify as a pet. Regardless, my sister loved it.
I cannot fully recall the exact chain of events on this particular day but the bird was out of his cage when the family cat came sauntering into my sister’s room. Before anything could fully register, the cat had the bird. It was almost like the bird flew directly down to the cat. Of course, the cat took off, running with its body low to the ground in that stalking motion that cats have perfected, the bird’s feathered, blue butt protruding from the cat’s gripping jaws of death.
I stood in shock. I’m sure my 11-year-old scream pierced through the town of Kirkersville – not so much because the bird was dead (like I said, it wasn’t much of a pet) – but because I had allowed it to be killed by having it out of his cage. Now that I look back on it (I still feel tremendous guilt) I kinda think that bird wanted to die. I mean, it could have flown away but instead it flew directly to the cat. He killed himself, right? There’s no way to ever know, I guess, but at least it eases my conscience to think the bird was suicidal. I’m pretty confident that my sister is still pissed about it. 🙂 It wasn’t the only thing of hers I ever ruined, but I’m hoping it’s the only thing of hers that I’ve ever indirectly killed.
I sincerely cannot keep up with the inner workings of my brain, so I often take a backseat and just go along for the ride. My strange and wonderful brain takes me on wild journeys. I have absolutely no desire – or need – to try mind altering drugs because my mind naturally “trips” on its own. Often “we” contemplate what sort of animal we’d like to be. I used to think I wanted to be a cat but then I remembered that the majority of domesticated cats are living out the rest of their lives in shelters behind bars. Now, I’ve been in jail before and I have NO desire to ever revisit being caged again, even if there was the silver lining that I might eventually be adopted. Although, I have to admit that I know what it’s like to be “rescued” from such a plight, so I’ll take this opportunity to promote adopting a pet. 🙂 Besides, if I had to eat an entire bird – bones and all – I’d rather be euthanized. I would NOT make a very good cat.
So, as I run through the catalog of potential animal personas I could take on, I think I’d choose to be a bird. It must be so incredible to defy gravity and soar over the earth, occasionally pooping on a statue, some random person, or a freshly washed vehicle. I don’t know what sort I’d be, perhaps a hummingbird because they’re tiny and like copious amounts of sugar (like me). Or an eagle. One that kicks ass and has its own majestic soundtrack. I’ve always wanted my own theme music. Ack. I just remembered that they eat animals, too. Never mind. I will NOT, however, choose to be any sort of bird who is flight-challenged, like a domesticated chicken or emu.
Or, apparently, one who’s suicidal.
Thank you, Laura Martin, for today’s word. You are one cool cat (albeit a vegetarian one). Laura is the sort of person who is peaceful and loving and groovy – all which are synonymous with being a vegetarian. You are very dear to me and I aspire to be more like you: peaceful, loving, and especially groovy. I’m glad you are a part of my life. Happy New Year! xoxo