First of all, let me assure you that I consider myself to be a brave and strong woman. I took care of a house and raised three kids on my own. I put myself through college, I learned how to paint, wallpaper and install toilets. I tiled and carpeted floors and discovered how to put in a sink. I learned some furnace repair and a little bit about electricity. I hauled about a ton of sandstone to my house single-handedly and turned it into a beautiful patio. I landscaped on my own. I ended up working on an in-patient psychiatric unit with severely mentally ill people. I’ve had chairs thrown at me. I’ve been chased down the halls, dodged blows, blocked punches and wrestled people to the ground. I’ve even lived with ghosts. I’m one tough old broad.
But, I have this little issue with birds.
They freaking terrify me. I don’t know why. Most likely a childhood encounter with Alfred Hitchcock’s movie, or possibly something about four and twenty of them baked in a pie. (Didn’t one snip off someone’s nose?) I don’t care. Just keep them the hell away from me. Want know what creeps me out more than a bird? Dead birds. I run like an idiot from them. Thus begins my story.
I had been working night shift at a local hospital, came home and got the kids off to school. I hauled my weary body up the stairs to my third floor bedroom and threw myself into bed. It had been a very rough night and I was glad to have it over with. I’d been sleeping about an hour and a half when this fluttering sound woke me up. Horrified of what it might be, I opened my eyes and looked toward the sound. It was my worst nightmare. A sparrow was in my bedroom.
I screamed. No, I mean Iscreamed! I pulled the blankets up over my head and continued to scream. The fluttering didn’t stop as the bird continued to fly from one end of my room to the other. I was finally able to peek out from under the covers just in time to see the tiny sparrow fly smack-dab into the center of one of my mirrors and rebound to cross the room again at a somewhat lower altitude. My cat, which had been sleeping at the foot of my bed, saw this as an opportunity to stop the intruder. She leaped into midair and caught that dangerous beast, knocking it to the ground. I saw the opportunity to save myself. I tore down the stairs at twice the speed of light, (screaming all the way, naturally) slammed the door to my room behind me and did what any self-respecting, independent, middle-aged woman would do.
I called my Daddy.
I was so hysterical on the phone that at first my parents thought something major had happened to me. Didn’t they understand? It was something major! A sparrow was threatening my life! When I could finally get my message through to them about what was happening, I was insulted to hear both of them laughing. With continuing giggles, Dad said he’d be right over.
First thing he did was go up to my room and leave the door open. I heard the bell on my cat’s collar tinkling as she came tearing down the stairs. Of course, this freaked me out. I was sure her mouth was covered in blood and bird feathers. This thought sent me screaming out to my back porch before she ever made it to the first floor. I was jumping up and down, wearing nothing but an oversized t-shirt and screaming like an idiot.
Dad showed up a few seconds later. He had something (Oh, shudder! It had to be a dead bird, now! The horror!) wrapped in a paper towel. He also had my cigarettes, thinking I could probably use one about that time. I couldn’t go near my cat. Dad explained to this middle-aged, independent woman that my cat was well fed. She wouldn’t have eaten the bird; just killed it, because that’s what cats do. He left me to smoke on the back porch in my t-shirt while he went back to the third floor and cleaned up the couple of feathers he could find.
My heart was pounding, my adrenaline was rushing. There was no way that I could go back to sleep that day; no way I could go back into my bedroom that day. What if I saw a feather that Dad missed? What if I found bird poop? Nope. Too much to deal with. I just figured my hour and a half of sleep was all I was going to need that day. I got through it.
So, I went off to fight with the psychotic masses that night. It was a piece of cake compared to having a sparrow in my bedroom.