I hate birds. Not birds in trees, but birds in captivity and that one bird which flew into the side of my head through my open car door window when I was seventeen. That stupid bird which perched in the back seat of my car fueled my disdain for birds and their little bird-brains. Then, a few years back, at the zoo, I went into the Lorikeet exhibit–against my will, but for the sake of my children–and a bird-brain-damaged bird flew into my hair. I did not want to alarm the children, so I did not scream, but I did say in a grim voice to the nearest adult, “Um, excuse me? Would you please help me remove this bird from my hair?”
I hate birds.
Guess what I see at the pool every time we go? Birds, yes. Cute little sparrow-like birds that flit through the chainlink fence in search of Cheeto crumbs. And then, there is a parrot that a woman carries on her shoulder. Okay, maybe it’s not a parrot, but it’s some kind of tropical bird.
The first time I saw it, I thought, “Geez, that must really suck when that bird poops down her back.” The woman’s back was broad (bringing “Silence of the Lambs” to mind) and exposed by her swimsuit. I kept shooting glances at this bird. Who brings a bird to a swimming pool? I didn’t notice that the bird wore a diaper until I overheard her mention it to some bird admirers.
Bird diapers. Who knew?
I was in the pool with Babygirl yesterday. Another baby was frolicking in the pool, too. The mother and I exchanged pleasantries about our girls. Her daughter, Isabelle, is less than a month older than Babygirl, but she was dunking the back of her head underwater and climbing in and out by herself. The look in her sky-blue eyes was that of a maniac–wide-eyed and shocked–but she seemed happy.
Babygirl, on the other hand, walks carefully in the pool and tries to keep her hair dry. She likes to jump in, but she does make sure I’m going to catch her. She can’t climb the sides of the pool.
While I sat on the very edge of the pool, Babygirl was practicing hopping. She cannot manage a two-footed hop on dry land, but she can in the pool. So, she was hopping and I looked up at Isabelle’s mother and said, “Has she taken swimming lessons?” The mother said, “No,” and I said, “Well, she seems so comfortable in the water!” Then I looked at Babygirl. She was completely underwater, victim of a wild hop gone wrong, I suppose. I plucked her from the pool and stood her on the edge. She coughed and coughed, but never cried. She did get back into the pool, but she began to shiver because her head was wet and a cool breeze had kicked up.
“And You’re Ugly, Too”
This morning, while my husband was getting ready for work, he told me that yesterday he’d called a church lady. Rumor has it that Church Lady and her husband plan to leave our church. This grandparent-aged couple has been extremely involved in volunteer efforts. They have belonged to this church longer than we have, maybe by ten years.
But they are leaving. They never bothered to talk to my husband, who has been their pastor for the past six years. So, he called Church Lady yesterday to find out what’s going on.
He said, “Is there anything I’ve personally done that has offended you?” Church Lady said, “No.” He prodded a little more, trying to figure out the reason they would be leaving. She finally said, “Well, your sermons are too long and I don’t like your sense of humor.”
Well, then. Glad she figured this out after six years. My husband is a funny guy and he said, “Why didn’t she just tell me, ‘and you’re ugly, too’?”
I told him that God apparently needed Church Lady and her husband’s place on the pews for someone else. They will find some other pastor to complain about.
One of the most frustrating things about working with people in a church setting is that the people feel so free to criticize and discuss the pastor and his family–behind their backs, of course. And that’s all I’m saying about that, lest I sound as uncharitable as I feel at the moment.