Bird of a different feather


A few weeks ago a well-meaning friend of mine bought me a bunch of flowers to cheer me up. I was naturally puzzled but decided to give it a go. Unfortunately the flowers did nothing to cheer me up. I watched them intently. In truth the whole idea perplexed me. How could they cheer me up? They were flowers slowly dying in a vase.


After a week she enquired “Did those flowers cheer you up?”


“No” I said.


In fact they made me feel worse because they made me realise something in me was missing. The part that is supposed to be cheered up by flowers. Clearly I’m some kind of emotionally dead freak who isn’t moved by the things normal people are. So the flowers-gift represented another failure of character and sensitivity. Its like someone accidentally spilling a bucket of hollandaise sauce on your favourite rug and then suggesting a sprig of parsley will make it all right again. Weird.


I have a similar absence of feeling about birds which marks me out as a degenerate in the company I keep where everyone bangs on about them gushingly all the time. I recently moved a few months ago to a different rented property in the same neighbourhood. As I hadn’t moved very far I expected to hear the same chirpy chirp chip chip noise as I opened my bedroom window for the first time here. It turns out that moving a few hundred yards down a road can profoundly affect your encounter with nature, especially if there are a family of crows (Asbo’s galore) living 30 yards from your house.


The cacophony is appalling and ugly as hell. It is like listening to that professional television cackler Allan Car all bloody day and if I wanted to do that I’d put Channel 4 on but I don’t. To choose never to put Channel 4 on and still have to put up with that fucker Allan Carr perched on top of a tree at the back of my house clap-trapping away at all hours is a disgrace. What’s next? Hollyoaks in my laundry basket? Kristen Guru-Murphy in my dressing-up box? It’s a worrying development.


Aside from the crows there seems to a popular perching spot for smaller birds just outside my bedroom window where the guttering from next doors roof has grass growing in it. Assorted birds of the cuter variety come and settle on this spot allowing me to observe them from the safety of my bed. I’m trying to find it within myself to like them because then that will mean that I am fit to join with the rest of the human race but I’m finding it difficult. Their little heads – and no one ever talks about this – swivel, from what I can see, just about all the way round. It’s creepy. Something comparable once happened in the Exorcist as I remember and no one went rushing to put out bird seed then. The proper response is to run screaming from the building or duck back under the duvet.


Which is where I am now. Until it’s safe to come out.


Or until I become a so called ‘normal’ person capable of feeling something other than grave disappointment and horror where others feel shimmering transports of delight. I have to conclude there’s something very wrong with me.


I don’t even like garden centres.