ArR -- The Parrot

I ran into one of my Phd cohorts the other day, and seeing her reminded me about that 'parrot story' that i had promised to blog about. So I've had the intention now for about a week to finally sit down and write the story down.

Then, today, I got one of those cheesey emails that links to a website that tells you what you'll be reincarnated as. Of all the animals in the world, I'll be reincarnated as... yep. a friggin parrot.

I love animals.

Except for goats and parrots.
Well, Turkeys are kind of scary too.

So now the parrot story. Kate goes out of town some time last year. I don't know her too well. We're in school together. We've gone to lunch together a couple of times. I've never been to her house, which is about 20-40 minutes out of town (depending on traffic), in a little town called Duson. She calls me one Thursday. She is desperate. She needs someone to watch one of her dogs and her parrot while she goes out of town. She says she'll pay me $40 to do this for 5 days.

ok. first of all, i told her that i am very irresponsible and that for her own good she should find someone else. second of all, $40? she wanted me to even SLEEP at her house for her animals to not be alone, and she lives in BFE farm town. She said that if i didn't sleep there i'd need to go over 2 or 3 times a day to feed them and clean out the piece of shit bird's cage.

She had no other options. obviously, no one but me was stupid enough to agree to a deal like this, so I ended up doing this humongous favor for this girl who i'm not really even good friends with! but I'm a sucker, so I did it...

Now for the story...

Parrots are very possessive of their owners, and live to be about 110. And they are smart. One time, when I went to feed the bird, God rest his little birdy soul (he passed about 6 months after my venture with him), when I went to feed him, I was singing, and he started hooting and dancing in his little cage!

And I'd give him peanuts. And he would say, "More peanut." Until I gave him more. If he saw me in the kitchen, he would tell me what he wanted to eat.

In Cognitive Science, they're always trying to come up with what distinguishes humans from animals. In the 80s, it was tools but then they found out about otters saving rocks to crack open clams, and beavers using tools to build dams, and of course chimps using sticks to get bugs in crevices or standing on boxes to get mangoes. Lately, it's been the whole language-use craze. But I think that parrots certainly use language, their brains just aren't big enough to be able to facilitate a complicated conversation. But seeing me in the kitchen near the peanut bowl and saying Peanut, then asking for More is definitely language, if you ask me, and that's my PhD concentration, so, ahem, I'm an expert.

So I'm loving the parrot and playing with his smart little self. He's aggressive, though, and I have to drop the peanuts in his cage so he doesn't chomp off my finger tips!

But I started feeling a little sorry for him, lonely in his little cage, without his mama, and she had this fake tree set up in her living room for him, with a little fence around it, and it was just beckoning him.

So, I figured I could set the cage up, and maneuver it so he could climb out of it, and onto the tree. No problemo. No touching the parrot, no contact. Easy breezy.

But when he was climbing out of the cage, it collapsed, and even though his wings were clipped, from the height, he could kind of coast through the air, and he wound up in the middle of the living room and a little freaked out. And so was I. I ran to the back of the house, down her long hallway and into her back bedroom. My keys were still in her front door, and it was 5:00 in the morning. I didn't know what to do. I knew if I tried to approach him he would start biting at me, and those things have scary as hell beaks. They can turn their necks about 360 degrees, and can pop open the hardest of nuts. I know he wouldn't have killed me, but he could probably break bones with that pecker, and I was so shaken up, if he attacked me, I might throw him against the wall and accidentally kill him or something. Luckily there was a phone in the room. So I call Charles. This was pre-Wes days, and Charles is a good friend, who is likely to be up at this odd hour. And he is, but has no idea what I should do.

So I get off the phone, somewhat calmer now. And there's a tap-tap-tap at the door.

The little bird has WALKED probably about 1000 birdie steps down the hall to knock on my door. I'm surprised he didn't start saying "Die you treachorous human" or something. So I'm freaking out again. And then a lightbulb over my head. Epiphany. This is an emergency. In emergencies, we call 911. So, yes, I call 911 about a parrot. "OK, I know this sounds crazy, but have you ever met a parrot? Well, they're really scary, and I'm not leaving this room. So, please help." They transfer me to animal control. I repeat the above disclaimer for what may seem like a crazy call. About 15 minutes later, a man calls out from the living room telling me it's safe. (But he had on big thick gloves, as per my suggestion over the phone.)

The End! I was rescued by 911!

animated gifs from Library of Congress photos

Kevin J Wier makes animated gifs using old photographs from the library of congress flickr account. ...