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.