Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On vacation

I’m sitting on my parents’ deck, underneath an oak tree. (Or is it a maple? And how pathetic is it that I don’t know the difference? I grew up in Ohio for fuck’s sake. I should know my basic deciduous trees.) Anyway, I’m sitting under a basic deciduous tree, listening to the Avett Brothers’ new album on NPR, watching finches eat some sort of finch delicacy from my mother’s bird feeders.

When she was fired from her church job (a story far too gross for the internet) my mother spent a week obsessed with tiny birds. She hung three feeders from a basic deciduous tree branch in front of the kitchen window and spent hours bird watching. My sister called me one day and, in a bit of a panic, whispered, “Ever since she got fired by God, she just stands by the sink, staring out the window, bird book in hand, trying to identify those damn finches. We have got to find this woman a job.”

Now that Mom has recovered—something we attribute to the resumption of gainful employment, vodka, and her new found love affair with the word fuck—the finches are still fed, but no longer studied; and I sort of wonder if they miss the attention.

I know what that’s like. In New York, I used to walk past this crazy homeless guy every day on my way to work. As I walked by, he’d yell obscenities at me. Every single day. Then, one day, as I walked past, he didn’t say anything. It was as if he just couldn’t be bothered. You’d think I would be relieved, but I was secretly thinking, “What? All the sudden I don’t warrant offensive screaming? Suddenly you have better things to do than call me a cunt?”

So, you know, I wonder if those same finches who used to pretend to be all annoyed by the crazy woman at the window studying their every move are now surprised to find themselves feeling just a bit neglected since she’s gone back to work.

And what does it say about me that I’m spending my vacation sitting on my parents’ deck, under a basic deciduous tree I can’t name, wondering about the secret thought lives of tiny birds?

Don’t answer that.


Eric said...

That doesn't sound like such a bad vacation to me.

MmeBenaut said...

Dear little one - if the leaves are pointed then the tree is a maple. If they are slightly rounded on the tips then it is an oak. If there are acorns on the ground when the tree starts losing it's leaves then it is an oak. if the leaves are a brown colour it is an oak. If they are yellow then it is a maple; if they are dark purple and then turn brown then it might be a norwegian maple; if they turn reddish orange then it might be a pinoak.
You need to spend some vacation time with me and I will take you on a tour of my many trees and give you a lesson in identification.
You're Mom is a darling for feeding those tiny finches. I'm sure they're not feeling the least bit neglected unless the seed feeder is empty :) and you are a darling for wondering about their tiny little thoughts.

dive said...

A million credibility points to your mom for getting fired from church! That's awesome.
I genefluct unworthily in her general direction.
This post fills me with hope and giggles, T.
You totally rule.

secret agent woman said...

I think it's a badge of homor to get fired form a church.

You're allowed any sort of silliness on vacation. But look at a Canadian flag sometime - that's a maple leaf. They have the little heliocpter seed pods. Oaks have rounder lobed leaves and acorns.

Terroni said...

That's settles it then...I'm sitting underneath a basic deciduous Canadian.

Tim Koppenhaver said...

So are you certain they were finches, or just some fundamental ornithological species?

Eric said...

Canada has a flag? How cute.

Terroni said...

Tim has a point.