Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Sympathizing with Sylvester....

...the cat, not Stallone.

CT has a new pet parakeet. I like having a parakeet in the house. He's always cheerful and there's no better way to wake up than to a happy chirping bird. Even on the gloomiest days, a fluttering little blue bird lifts my spirits.

So, you can imagine my disappointment to find that our newest family member is more than a little dull. Domino is a cute little guy...mostly black and white with a shocking blue tail. He's still a baby and his people skills could use a little work. He doesn't like to be touched and squawks menacingly when anyone tries to handle him. And when he doesn't get his way, he chomps the nearest finger and bites down as hard as his little jaws will allow. So, for the first few days he was with us we let him alone and allowed him to get accustomed to his new home. There he sat...on the very top perch...alone and on top of his small little world...and he sat...and pooped....and sat...seriously, a gold fish has more personality than this guy!

Then, one day, I decided that the bird was boring because he was bored. In a flash a brilliance, I decided that I needed to entertain him. I tried cooing and talking with no response except for an occasional sleepy blink. Yep, he was bored and even my best baby talk could not persuade him to give me the time of day. Convinced that he just needed a little excitement in his life, I bravely stuck my hand in the cage and after about 10 minutes and only minimal blood, I had him in his small travel cage. We were going on a field trip!

I have to admit, I was more excited at this idea than Domino and he barely moved as we made our way down the hall and into the elevator to the garage. He sullenly gripped the perch and wobbled only a bit to hang on with each movement. It was a pretty day and once we were settled into the car, I opened the sun roof and set a course to CT's school to pick him up. Once in the parking lot at glanced over at the cage to find that Domino was indeed more animated than I had ever seen him. He hopped from foot to foot and tweeted happy little chirps at the window. I smiled in smug satisfaction.

What's that? Our little friend is so excited that he's bumped over his water dish. Better fix it before there's water all over the car. I knew as I opened the cage door that I shouldn't....but, by then, it was too late. My boring little birdie bolted out of the cage and made a bee-line for the open sun roof. I snapped it shut just in time.

And just like that, lifeless became frantic and Domino explored the car with the gusto of a kid at his first amusement park. He ducked into ever nook and somehow contorted his body to fit into every cranny as I maneuvered around steering wheel and cup holders in my vain attempts to nab him. Being careful not to squash him under the seat or inadvertently open a window, I grabbed at thin air...only a split second too late to grasp his hovering little body. I hurriedly begged for his obedience, oblivious to the language barrier. I anxiously glanced at the school door, hoping that I would be able to corral his pet before CT happened upon my predicament. I found a bird treat and managed to convince Domino that he was hungry long enough to lure him onto an styrofoam plate on the back seat. I carefully and slowly moved the plate toward me. He eyed me suspiciously, but went back to his feast. Ever so slowly, I edged him closer and closer toward the cage. Just as he got close enough to seize, he caught on to my ploy and fluttered back to his perch in the back window. Exhausted and without any other option, I locked eyes with him and we stared at each other for a long moment. I contemplated opening the door...for just a split second...in order to jump out and into the backseat to gain a closer vantage point. But, I decided against it when I realized this would also require opening the back door as well, making it far to risky. This would give Domino a clear exit route and chances of his escape were significant.

Finally, I sighed and stuck the remainder of his treat just inside the door of his cage in a desperate last attempt to lure the hungry bird home. I was exhausted from the chase and ready to give up. I reluctantly decided that CT was much more suited (and younger) for this chase and that I would have to fess up and beg for his assistance...assuming the bird didn't fly the coop as CT opened the car door to get in. This last scenario not only meant the loss of a well-liked, if not beloved, family pet, but also the inevitable scorn of my teenager. I could almost see his eyes rolling and the silent treatment that would compound my already intense guilt. As I contemplated the consequences, I heard a sharp peep beside me. I looked down to see Domino peering intently into his cage at the treat. He flashed a glance in my direction and blinked  before hopping into the cage. I snapped the cage door closed just in time to see CT's cheery face headed toward the car.

Relieved at my luck and with a new respect for our "boring" friend, I vowed to never assume that a lethargic bird lacks personality. And since this incident, which a assume made me look like raving mad lunatic from the cars parked around mine, Domino and I have made a quiet peace and he even lets me stick my hand in his cage to stroke his tail feathers on occasion. And in return, he has taken to chirping cheerily every morning to wake me up...now if I can just convince him that 5:30 is just a tad too early for those of us without feathers.

No one that I know of managed to snap a photo of this mayhem, but I assume it looked something like this: