a particular parrot

A woman I rode with on the elevator this morning reminded me of a parrot I met recently.

The elevators in my office building have shiny panels inside with a fun-house mirror quality to them. I was standing in one, bleary-eyed, waiting for my floor when I glanced at a panel and thought I saw the woman staring at me. It was a little disconcerting. Probably she was just standing there bleary-eyed also and the staring was a trick of the panel – I don’t know. But it made me think of a parrot – a particular parrot.

I was out in Whately again this past weekend. Zdravets, the Bulgarian band I sing with, was playing for a barn dance out there (which was extremely fun, by the way). The barn is owned by a couple who have been hosting dance parties for years and they invited the band to dinner beforehand. As we were sitting in their living room talking I kept hearing strange little cheeping and whistling sounds. It finally occurred to me that the folks might keep birds, and indeed, they have two African Grey parrots. The man walked me out to their cage and warned me not to stick my fingers in, if I had been so inclined. All bird sounds stopped as soon as I got to the cage.

The man told me about the birds, who are brothers. One was friendly though he apparently had a very hard chomp; he looked at me playfully and kept cocking his head side to side. He seemed quite sociable, but I kept my fingers to myself. The other bird, however, could be pretty aggressive, according to the man. As he said this I looked up at the second bird and found he was staring at me intently. It was not a friendly stare. I felt uncomfortable and looked away, then looked back. He was still staring at me. I found it remarkable that so much malevolence could be packed into one tiny beady eye; it was like the evil little penguin in that Wallace and Grommit film. I don’t know what he would have done with me if he’d met me out in the open but I was certain it was nothing I’d enjoy. I was very glad of the cage.