I’m still working on A Supremely Bad Idea, and if anything proves that I am not, and never will be, a birder, I think my slow progress with this book does. I’m also not having much success with my attempts to be an armchair birdwatcher: not a single bird has been seen nibbling at the new birdfeeder.
Now, although it’s possible that the birds don’t really like suet cakes, or that they’ve heard a rumor that my house is occupied by an Alfred Hitchcock devotee, I think there is another possible reason for both my lack of success with both the book and the birds: There’s a giant CAT in my backyard, yellow and Clifford-sized; much too big for my dog to chase off.
We live next door to the local vocational school. Our little street has eight houses on it, and it is surrounded by the college. A little suburban island in a sea of … well, not quite academia … more like motorcycle maintenance. But apart from the occasional late-night donut drivers in the parking lot, the school is generally a good, quiet neighbor.
Several weeks ago, we got a letter from the school, addressed to “Our Neighbor,” alerting us to the school's upcoming expansion: an 83,000 square foot building. I didn’t think too much of it until the giant yellow CAT earth-moving machines showed up outside my house. I had the idea that there would be noise, jackhammering like woodpeckers, off to the side of my house – in the background somewhere. Instead, my house began to shake like an earthquake, accompanied by a constant background screeching – not unlike the music in the shower scene in Psycho, or a very loud, angry mouse, or perhaps a large family of mice, being driven from their home by the giant yellow CAT.
Now, I’m thinking maybe some WD40 is in order, but if you saw how big this CAT is, you’d understand: there’s not enough WD40 at Costco to take care of this squeaking.
It should come as no surprise then, that I’ve found it a wee bit hard to concentrate on reading … and that the birds have been scared off. Of course, they might have left simply because winter is approaching; in fact, there are icicles on the bottom of the birdfeeder. Granted, they formed from the melting suet cake, but still, they are icicles, and that means winter.
So, I’m trying not to worry too much about the implications of all this. After all, we like cats, and winter means Christmas. I’m just going to play some Christmas tunes on my iPod and hope the birds come back in the spring.