Once upon a time, my mother had a set of love birds. They resided in a large birdcage in the corner of the front room of our house.
I’d like to say this story takes place when I was a child, and I didn’t know any better. Unfortunately, I can’t say that…I was in college. In fact, I was already taking classes in nursing school, so I was plenty old enough to know better.
Now, I’m just going to be brutally honest here. I LOATHED those dang birds.
Also residing in our front room was my favorite old couch, dark green with hideously large flowers all over it. Yes, it was ugly, but it was crazy comfortable. There was also a small coffee table in there, which my dad randomly found at a store one day and brought home…even though my mother always hated it. I liked it, because I could spread all my books out on that table, and sit on the couch in front of the double window and look outside. At that time, we had a pretty dogwood tree right in the middle of the front yard. I loved to study in that room, and when I needed a break, I would gaze out the window at my favorite dogwood tree.
This was my spot. And, well…I can sometimes be just like Sheldon and his spot. I’m a little territorial. I was not happy when my mother brought home those silly birds, and planted them in the corner, right next to my couch. They were the loudest, most obnoxious birds I’d ever laid eyes on. They interrupted my study time with all their incessant chirping!
I grew so tired of the birds one night, in the middle of a huge study session, that in a fit of rage I grabbed the nearest highlighter and threw it with all my might at the birdcage. It scared the birds so much, that they instantly shut up. For a long time.
At last! I had found a way to shut up the ridiculous birds!
Now, lest you think that I was just constantly throwing writing utensils at my mother’s pet birds…I wasn’t. I only hit the birdcage with said highlighter a few times. Honest. But I guess it got the message across to the birds that I meant business…because soon enough, all I had to do to stop their racket was simply hold a yellow highlighter up towards the cage, and…silence.
As a result, I always kept a yellow highlighter close by, usually stashed behind the potted plant my mother kept in the same room. My friends thought it was hilarious that I had managed to “train” the birds to be quiet just by holding up a highlighter. My mother was less than amused, of course. She would often find my stashed sticks of doom and throw them away, forgetting that I had obsessively collected mountains of variously colored highlighters to help me through my classes. There was always one to replace whatever she tossed in the trash.
One day, months later, I was on my couch, studying for a big exam, and the birds started up their racket. I held up my yellow beacon of quiet, but it didn’t work this time. I resorted to throwing the highlighter and hitting the birdcage with it. I got my silence, and I was able to ignore the birds the rest of the day. In hindsight, I probably should have noticed that many hours went by without a single chirp…but I didn’t.
I suspect now that one of the birds was so startled by the attack of the yellow stick that it had a coronary. Why the other bird didn’t raise a ruckus is beyond me…maybe it was too depressed at the loss of its mate to speak?
Naturally, my mother blamed me for the death of her beloved bird. The second bird died a couple weeks later, but I played no part in that one…because I was too scared to do anything else to that silly birdcage. I’m guessing it was lonely.
Maybe I should give another pair of love birds for Mother’s Day? A peace offering 15 years after the fact? On second thought, she’s probably forgotten all about me killing her pet bird with a highlighter…it might be best to just let that one go.