Tuesday, January 17, 2017

MY NEW HOBBY


Birdwatching is hard, and life is hard. But they make each other easier. Today they did, at least.
At the beginning of the day, when I woke up, I was feeling nihilistic and horny. I'd recently lost my job, and on top of that, my girlfriend had just gotten murdered. She ran off with a serial killer, and he killed her. C'est la muerte, I guess. But that's why I was feeling bad.
I slid my feet into my adidas shower shoes and trudged over to my writing desk. It was a scratched up old desk handed down to me by my father. My watch had been cutting into the wood, and causing the scratches. Whoops. Gingerly removing a pen and a piece of computer paper from the middle desk drawer, and laying them gingerly on the top part of the desk, I thought, fleetingly, of the impermanence of things. Life, my desk...lots of things were impermanent. That confident butterfly, hovering outside my window now, like some sort of invincible military helicopter, would someday be yanked out of this mortal realm as brutally and gingerlessly as if he was the middle of the Grand Canyon. And there was nothing you could do about it, except cry.
Outside, it was snowing. "Perfect" I thought. "This harsh weather will make my reclusive lifestyle seem temporarily less pathetic." I loosened my pajama pants and leaned back in my chair. What am I working on right now? I wondered. My purpose had escaped me, and the blank piece of computer paper on my desk offered no clues. That's when I leaned even further back in my chair, and fell backwards onto the ground.
"Fuck" I said, when the dust had settled. "....fuck." I'd hit the ground pretty hard. There was a ringing sound in my ears, and I hallucinated: 3 cartoon bluebirds, circling around my head, like I was a cartoon character, in a cartoon. That wasn't the first time I'd had that hallucination--I watched a lot of cartoons when I was young (and when I was in high school and college) (and also later, when I lived with my parents and worked at Safeway), and that repetition of watching cartoons every day for hours caused me to hallucinate cartoon effects, sometimes, when I got beat up or drunk or smelled a pork chop--but my cartoon birds were particularly vivid that day, and that vividness proved to be the inspiration for the birth of this web site.
The thing that happened with it was, the cartoon birds jostled loose a vivid childhood memory. One minute I was sitting there, hallucinating the cartoon birds, and the next minute my vision got blurry  and the scene crossfaded to rural Washington State, where my childhood dad and I were birdwatching, and there were different birds flapping around our heads, and then landing in a nearby pine tree. We were on vacation.
My dad yelled at me to get the PROLIFIC BIRDS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST guide, to identify the birds, and I remembered that I left it in the car.
"Shit dad, I left it in the car" I said.
"WHAT?" he yelled, over the roaring wind.
"I'm sorry!" I said.
"NO, I MEAN WHAT DID YOU SAY?" he roared."I CAN'T HEAR YOU."
"I said I left PROLIFIC BIRDS OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST in the car" I said. "I don't think we're going to be able to identify these birds."
"HMMM" he said. "I GUESS WE'LL HAVE TO USE OUR MEMORIES TO IDENTIFY THESE BIRDS."
"Ok" I said.
We looked at the birds for about 20 minutes, trying to remember what they were. We were freezing cold by the end of it, but it was worth it just to stand there, hand in hand, not having to try to make out what the other person was saying over the sound of the wind. 
"I think that brown one is a duck" I said, finally. 
"LET'S CALL IT A DAY" said my dad.
Everything got blurry again, and now I was back in my present-day room.
"Whoa" I said to myself, silently.
I rolled out of my chair and stood upright. I knew what I was working on now, starting tomorrow: This. The blog. 
Satisfied, I hiked over to the corner store, where I lost $2 to the Washington State Lottery, and beat up a couple of stoners in the parking lot. (Not literally, though. "Beating up some stoners" is a euphemism I invented for drinking Keystone Ice.)