November 9, 2010

Rare birds.


Recently at a concert, where a soprano from New York sang the stars from the heavens, I glanced around as I settled in to listen. Across the aisle sat a baby-boomer Harley guy, with tattoo's up his arms and in his neck; his  chains catching the light. His face tilted upwards, his eyes closed, listening to the music in quiet appreciation. Although he seemed oddly out of place, it was good to see that we don't have to fit into society's little boxes.

The same week, at Petsmart, I approached a store associate, who was standing by an older woman with a mangy looking little dog on a lead.  He had sad eyes and was missing a large part of one of his ears. The elderly woman turned and gave me a snarling smile, telling me that it was not yet my turn because her dog was being trained as an assistance dog. Her expectations were clearly high. I looked at the dog and he looked up at me with tired eyes, and I am sure he was saying, "Do I remotely look like a dog that would be able to do that?". I wanted to pluck some of the woman's tail feathers, but thought better of it.

Later at the dog park (my life seems to revolve a lot around dogs), a man sat down next to me on the bench, while his wife settled on the armrest. He was hesitant to talk, but when he did he mentioned Mark Twain's autobiography, which is on the best-sellers list. I said, quite innocently, "So you are a NPR listener?", because that day it had been mentioned on the radio. I added that I liked listening to BBC news on that station. "I don't like that stupid English accent", he snapped. His wife scoured the sky for any birds flying by to study. Now there is no denying that my accent sounds British to some, but it's not. I realized that he wasn't happy at being found out that he listened to what he might consider a "liberal" station. I felt like feeding him a worm.

My accent sometimes incites reactions that are beyond my understanding. Like the woman in a car, who was in the assumption that I had locked my dog in a car with closed windows. She screamed that she had already called the humane society, so I walked up to her to explain, but she just bellowed, "Go back to Canada, and stay there". "Why would I want to go to Canada?", I asked but of course, I knew what it was about. My accent. I should have tied a knot in her beak. Silly bird.

You meet some rare birds sometimes and I am not talking about the biker at the concert, who didn't fly with the flock.

The birds in the drawing are a Sunday morning practice. I wanted to see if I could do something like this.


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