Saturday, June 21, 2008

for the birds

I suppose I should start by saying this isn't going to be a particularly happy entry, so if you're feeling remotely cheerful, you better go elsewhere because this may spoil your mood. And if you're feeling low, you better go elsewhere because this may worsen your mood.

Basically, this entry should not be read by anyone.

Southern California is currently undergoing a major heat wave. When I got to work at 9:30AM yesterday, it was already in the high 80's. The parking garage was completely full, of course, but I managed to snag a semi-shady spot by a tree. I put up my sunshades, threw a towel over the steering wheel, and headed inside.

By lunchtime, it was 105 degrees.

When 5:55PM rolled around, I logged off my phone, shut my computer down, grabbed my shit, and practically sprinted out of the building. I was about fifty feet away from my car when I saw a big blob on the windshield.

"Oh, great, bird crap," I muttered.

Then I got closer and saw that it wasn't bird crap after all. In fact, bird crap would have been much preferable to what it actually turned out to be.

"Oh no," I moaned, covering my mouth as I looked down at the baby bird on my windshield, its eyes closed and its tiny beak open. It must have fallen out of its nest and landed on my windshield. It would have been a goner even if it had its feathers; with its bare pink skin, it probably cooked instantly. All I could do was hope that the end was quick. I got paper towels out of my trunk, gently picked the bird up, and placed it under the tree. Then I dumped half a bottle of Purell on my hands and drove home.

As I was walking to my mailbox, my foot kicked something that turned out to be a dead hummingbird. I got my mail and thought, "Okay, I could certainly do without seeing any more dead birds today."

When I opened the door to my apartment, it was like walking into an oven. I immediately turned on the air conditioner, because even though I hate paying big electric bills, I didn't much feel like having my face melt off either. I washed my hands and then went to check on my pet shrimp. Usually I keep the Ecosphere in the kitchen, where they can get plenty of indirect light, but I'd moved them to my bedroom because it's the coolest room in the apartment.

Not cool enough, apparently, because Bruiser and the Ebi Twins were curled up tightly on the bottom of the sphere. Hoping against hope, I tapped on the globe, and then I gently shook it.


I put the Ecosphere down, sat on my bed, and cried.

Okay, yes, I know. It wasn't like losing a "real" pet, and I eat their (much) bigger relatives whenever G and I go out for Japanese food, but still. I loved watching them zoom merrily around their tiny world, and whenever I caught them nibbling at a piece of algae held ever so daintily between their front legs, I laughed.

I'm going to miss those guys.