Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May 1: Robin Gets a New Bath

In my evolving series about the life and times in the year of the Robin, today's slice concerns her incredible memory for objects and locations and shapes.

Robin has always taken her twice daily baths in a rectangular take-out plastic clear container.  It's easy to clean, easy to see through and gave her a sense of comfort when she dropped bits of food or ripped up newspaper to see that it falls to the bottom.  I can't explain why she engages in this behavior, only that it seems to please and amuse her.  Kind of like the time she dropped a raisin to the bottom and was rather surprised that it had grown in size and shape by the time she remembered to fish it out of the water.

Today my lovely little Robin has decided NOT to take a bath in the new version of her bathtub.  I found a much larger square shaped clear plastic container to replace the old one.  The old one barely fit her entire sturdy body, and often her tail stuck out, causing her to have to flap around furiously to get every bit and piece of her feathered torso wet.  I figured that this newest version would allow her a fuller emersion, get her tail inside the container and make her splashing more efficient.

Needless to say, I underestimated her powers of observation.  Despite several verbal prompts of "go ahead baby, go take a bath" she eyed the substitution warily.  She threw in a piece of newspaper.  She dipped her beak in for a taste.  Sip, sip, water seems to taste the same.  She flew to a different spot to get a better angle to view her new tub.  Didn't look the same, not the same shape.  She flew down and dipped both feet in.  Temperature feels alright, soothing on the toes.  After about a good ten minutes of testing and hopping about, and eyeballing the thing, Robin decided to head to her cage and watch the tub.  Just in case something would happen.

Yet I know she is DYING to take a long and luxurious bath.  For about as long as I've had this ball of feathers, she has religiously taken two baths a day.  One in the daytime and one at night before bed.  The water has to be crisply cold, room temperature isn't acceptable.  It has to be spotlessly clean- one would never dip a toenail into unsightly water fouled by one's own droppings or the errant feather.  If her conditions are not met, my stubborn little Robin refuses to even walk by the bathtub.  She is THAT picky.

So for her to test the characteristics of this new and improved tub for so long means that she doesn't quite know what to do.  Should she break down and just take the plunge in, letting the cool ripples of water flow over her back and head?  Should she wait?  Will the other familiar tub come back?  Why if they both disappear?

Oh, the endless questions running through that small, compact head!

My wager is that after she's done resting, which she is doing now on the ledge of the cage, that she will give up on her inhibitions and take the plunge.  After all, the day is drawing to a close and it's time to start preening again.  One can't possible do a proper preen without the benefit of our personal jacuzzi.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

For the Love of Robin

Living in New York, you get very jaded very quickly. Every time someone shoves into your backside at the turnstile. Or pushes up against you while they propel themselves into that last bit of breathing space left in that train segment. How about when people appear out of nowhere, as if conjured out of thin air while you, the schmuck, waits patiently in a line with your card out, ready to swipe it as you board the bus?

It's enough to make a person want to swear off the human race. I mean, what redeeming values do people in a great metropolis really have? We are pushy, arrogant, rude, have no patience, no time to wait, no concept of the word tack and in an homage to exceptionalism, everyone is so special that nobody's shit actually stinks! You would think that the makers of Charmin would go out of business at this rate, because apparently nobody in an urban environment would ever have a need for such a product!

I often wonder why is it that I seem to be trapped in this vortex of hubris and hardness. True, like thousands of other peons, I'm tethered to a job which pays me little, provides me with scant opportunity to give or get respect, but keeps food in the fridge and the landlord's litigators away. What reasons could there be to continue to live a life devoid of purpose, sunshine and reason? I can't find the answers, though I've looked often and regularly. I think that I'm not alone in my questioning. People turn to other methods to dull the numbness, to make sense out of the senseless, and to pretend to find reason where none exists. Church, athletics, family, volunteerism.  Even the occassional scrap book and hand craft is just hollow in the face of long and endless stretches of  emptiness.  Somehow, what works for others just doesn't quite cut it for me.  I can only decorate so many cupcakes, ties so many bows, stencil so many placecards, or glue so many pieces of semiprecious jewelry in place.  It means nothing.  It gives nothing in return.  It doesn't breathe, or think or comprehend.

Which is why I think a little bit of my crust, my frozen heart, my broken soul, finds a bit of salvation every time I look into her eyes.  She's a quite little thing, and sings in a soft, hardly audible voice only when you least expect it.  Those bright onyx eyes betray little when they stare at you, her head cocked at a coquettish angle, as if she had a line directly into the deepest recesses of your being.  She seems to sympathize, to understand, to share your pain and anguish.  As she perches precariously on my laptop, her crimson bosom rising and falling with every breath, I sense that the connection between us, unlike with humans, transcends words.  She understands much, reveals nothing.  But through her eyes, and her quiet ways, she affords me peace and restores my faith.  While hope wanes with each day I am forced to continue living in this urban hell, Robin's merry presence keeps a tiny flicker of humanity alive in my heart.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Color of Justice

Easter conjures up pastel images of approaching Spring, rabbits, chocolates and egg hunts.  Easter generally doesn't include hordes of young people marauding in the street, harassing pedestrians, disturbing shoppers and causing mayhem.

That's what this Sunday brought to Times Square.  Dozens of young people were accused of "wilding" and engaging in assaultive, disruptive and criminal behavior.  Several people were shot and many were injured.  About fifty teens, mostly African American young men, were arrested for a variety of charges, the predominant charge being disorderly conduct.

Now Manhattan DA Cy Vance has decided in order to send a message, that he will not offer "plea bargains" in all of these cases.

Which is strange, if you think about it, because he seems to have a knack for offering pleas.  To the cabbie who admitted lying about not taking his meds before he slammed his car into a woman, killing her.  To the Saudi man accused of killing an elderly man on the Upper West side in a robbery gone wrong.  To David Letterman's blackmailer, because, well, he really didn't mean to extort the celebrity for $2million bucks.

The evidence in these three cases seems pretty substantial and the crimes that much more serious and offensive.  Granted, I'm not defending any young person who decides to behave poorly and disruptively.  But you have to wonder how many of the young men rounded up and arrested were not guilty of any more heinous behavior than to be standing in Times Square while young and black on the wrong day and time.  Time Square being such the mecca of entertainment, it's not absurd to think that young people would have chosen Easter Sunday to spend some time there eating, drinking, shopping or just enjoying the great weather on some of those snazzy lawn chairs on the Broadway pedestrian mall.  The news accounts lists dozens of stories of young black men with their moms, girlfriends or family members who got rounded up and collared for, well, being in the path of a cop and his handcuffs.

Any law enforcement official who goes to court to make a blanket statement that there will be no pleas in a particular category of cases without first evaluating the evidence in each and every case is either a media whore or just not that bright.  A few years ago, about 200 people were arrested for disorderly behavior during the Puerto Rican parade.  After careful evaluation of the charges and the evidence, less than half a dozen of those cases ended in pleas and convictions.  Just because there's a large scale arrest by police does not mean that all of those arrests are backed up with evidence to support the charge.  Some are, some are not.  There's always the possibility that there might be a few folks who may actually be not guilty.

Being young, black and in New York isn't a crime.  Apparently, to District Attorney Vance, the color of justice available to those individuals is substantially different from those of a paler pigmentation.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Beautiful is Just a Word

If beauty is skin deep, then what does it mean when someone calls you beautiful? What does it mean when that comment is made verbally? In print? In an email? Or more generically via Facebook? Does the term lose its potency and significance if it's thrown about like excess grains of salt from an errant shaker? Does it mean even less when it's paid to those we have only virtual relationships with? Or does it just cheapen our "real time" relations that much more?

I've often wondered what it really means when someone says "you are beautiful.". In our highly saccarine and superficial society, compliments are bantied about like confetti in the wind. Do we tell ugly people they're a rare beauty as a sign of support or a form of bitter sarcasm? Do we tell average plain Jane folks they're beautiful because it's expected? How do you measure the true depth and sincerity of a statement that is always relative in nature and suspect to begin with?

I for one chose to believe that the compliment is just an afterthought with no meaning or intent. Just like the term "I'm sorry" has been diluted to the point of insignificance, so has the term "you're beautiful.". Think of the parallels- u bump into a person on the bus, u say "I'm sorry.". U murder countless victims and what do u often hear in court? "I'm sorry.". Hence, how could "you're beautiful" ever mean anything more than a generic form of ego boosting wrapping in brown paper with no bow and no value?

Maybe I'm a cynic and maybe I've been blindsighted. But one thing's for certain- only I have the real power to decide if I really am beautiful or not.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


am worthless.

No friends, only enemies and those who wish to utilize me as a tool.

I don't have a single blood relation who can stand me.

I sit alone most of the time, most of the day, often at night, wondering how I offended God to be punished like this.

I am condemned to be alone. Nothing lasts. Nothing is real. Only despair and loneliness and frustration.

I hate myself and I hate living this unbearable life. Unbearable because there is no solace. Only fear and hurt.

I wish I were stronger and not a prisoner to feelings. Of ineptitude, loss, envy, sadness and longing. I think I could bear the burdens of existence better if I didn't feel so wounded all the time.

Because I'm so damn unremarkable that I fade like the Cheshire cat. If I disappeared nobody would even notice I was gone. Nobody hears my voice, or sees my presence. I'm so faint I'm like the watermark on stationary- barely noticed, a taint, a trace.

I don't make a dent even in relationships. I could slit my wrists while standing naked in Times Square and nobody would see a thing. Nobody sees like the wounded cat I am that I slink off to a hidden corner to cry. Nobody would care. Why would anyone? Who could care about the old, discarded stray?

Who indeed?

Down the Rabbit Hole

I am a loser.

Blood relations can't stand me.

Relationships all are built on me being a useful tool.

I have no money, no hope for a paying job, no hope of losing the weight I need to. No friends, no voice, nothing.

Why isn't there a way for people like me to painlessly end our lives? Why does society get all bent out of shape about the sanctity of life when we should think about the value of our existence? Not talking about quality- that's a judgment call. But value. Value is relative in the sense that u believe someone or something has value when others might disagree. Call it the sentiment factor. People cherish old photos, knick knacs, bric-a-brac, memories. Trade most on the open market, u might not get any takers.

Why isn't it the same for people? Why do we compel people to continue to live when they have lost all sentimental value for themselves and others? I can rationally tell myself I have to keep on living because I have obligations to fulfill. Things to do. Bills to pay. Yet none of these things speak a wit about why I have to keep on existing. Am I a drone whose only purpose is to serve and do and work? When I stop doing such is it time to end my existence?

I don't have the temerity to take the necessary action. I live in constant dread of tomorrow. I hate the fact that I can't escape, can't get off the hamster wheel, can't find solace. I have no value at all. I am a drone forced to function. Loveless, purposeless, empty and always alone.

Would it be so terrible if someone shows me mercy and releases me from this despair? I won't be missed and there are plenty of drones to pick up the slack. Why won't someone help me? This dark horrible place I'm at where all I feel is hurt. I'm so very tired of being rational. I need the Alice pill so I can disappear.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Waiting for the New Year Baby

It never ceases to amaze me how this time of year when we are celebrating love and family and blessings that the first thing most people are anxious to determine is how much new stuff they can get to replace the old. New clothes or electronics or jewelry or even friends and employment. Often I'm at a loss when thinking about what to do with all of the old. Old toys. Old furniture. Old books. Even old boyfriends.

When we discard or replace all that is old in our lives we cannot discard some old relationships. Be they frayed or strained or tortuous or just plain unpleasant sometimes one cannot bring a new person in to replace an old. The old lingers like Lindberger and the faint scent of baggage and war wounds serve as a reminder that ex husbands and even ex in laws, if children are involved, never get tossed. They get compartmentalized in a more managable form but never actually leave. Take David Goldman and his son Sean. Is the Brazilian grandma, stepdad or half sister ever going to be replaced? Or will they be put into discrete blocks of time where contact is still necessary but limited?

Waiting for everything anew might be something we look forward to come New Year's eve. But some things and people will forever be old and familiar despite time.