Bags of Bran

trying to think with a lonely parrot in the next room
September 10, 2011, 9:08 pm
Filed under: Biography

Henry the Parakeet, 2006. He was a quiet little fella.

Our current household arrangement consists of a Mr. Man, a Lady, a Mom, a Magic Pooch, a Russell the Parakeet (duty demands it!) and my mom’s parrot.

To spend time around a parrot is to discover that they can be intensely clever with their sonic emulations. So at any moment, one can hear, for example, the beep from the microwave, the squeal of a squeaky screen door hinge (this particular bird has it down perfect), the phone ringing, our old phone ringing, the beep from the answering machine, a catcall, some garbled speech in an approximate man voice, some garbled speech in an approximate elf voice, various requests for food items, emulations of Russell the Parakeet, laughter, or a host of other odd sounds which, if I made them, would be somehow less appropriate.

The sounds are fine. I don’t mind them. I’ve had a bird for about five years now, so I can perform high functions with the pleasant sound of bird chatter in the background. It’s almost soothing, especially when you have a contented parakeet. Even parrots are OK when they’re just chattering to themselves.

A slight difficulty arises when this particular parrot determines that she has been abandoned. This often occurs between ten and eighteen seconds after a hominid leaves the immediate ten-foot radius around her cage. Suddenly, instead of charming microwave beeps and garbled approximations of Elven dialogue, she shrieks. She shrieks a lot. To respond is to inform her that her shrieks are working, so she continues to shriek, perhaps with more gusto than previously.

Bird: “SHRIEK!

Mr. Man: “…”


Mr. Man: “Yes, bird, I’m right here!”


Mr. Man: “…”


Mr. Man: *walks over and glares at bird*

Bird: “All the other kids rented worn wooden skids better run better run faster than my puppy!” (this is a rough translation of her garbled Elvish)

Mr. Man: *walks away*

Bird: “SHRIEK!

I think she does it because she has something to tell me. I hope it’s not super important, because my Elvish translation skills are weak, as you can see. Perhaps it’s some sort of code that I need to brush my teeth more frequently: she seems to gain the happy when I brush my teeth.

Maybe I should give her a Rubik’s Cube or some Sudoku puzzles to keep her occupied while I’m trying to read.


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