The Great Lockdown has been mind-numbingly boring. My husband has been an essential worker, but I have been home and not working. The only other housemate is a teenager who is on distance learning from college. He is consistently working, but needs quiet to concentrate, so I will go outside in the backyard, sit on the hammock under my pear tree and read or just observe nature.
I have been able to observe and get to know the animals and birds that live in the trees in my and my neighbors' yards. There's a blue jay, a cardinal, a mockingbird, mourning doves, a pair of small birds which I can't figure out the species.
I give them names because I feel like I know these individuals. Randy the rabbit is no longer afraid of me and hops around the yard eating clover at my feet. The Squad of squirrels climb up and down the pear tree above me either taking pears or eating them right above my head and spitting the leftovers down on me. Occasionally Crikey the crow will swoop in, pull off a pear and fly away with the whole thing in his beak! There's Carl the cardinal who is always swooping from tree to tree in the yard, Jay the blue jay who sometimes picks fights, and Mark the mockingbird who sits on the absolute tallest branch on the Leyland cypress trees in the neighborhood and tweets obnoxiously loud and he's not even original. He just goes through a round of the calls of every other bird in the neighborhood. Amusingly he tried to mock the mourning doves and sounded like a purring cat! Mark gets on my nerves and he can sometimes be scared away if I play a recording of a red tailed hawk on my tablet!
Yes, my life had been reduced (or enriched) to this point. And then it rained for a week.
I couldn't go anywhere. I couldn't make noise in my own house. And I couldn't even go outside. So I sat by the window and, godammit, Carl the cardinal was sitting on my hammock like he owned it, not even concerned about the drizzle!
As I burned in anger, I also almost simultaneously realized how truly ridiculous it all was, and laughed at myself and came up with a new way to answer my husband's daily after work question, " How was your day?"
This is how it played out...
Hubby: What a nasty day. I'm soaked. How was your day?
Me: Carl was out there on my hammock today, lounging like he owned it. He made me so mad.
Hubby: Who the hell is Carl? Are people that bored and desperate that they just wander into other people's yards and lounge on their lawn furniture? Did you call the cops?
Me: Oh no, I didn't have to, the Squad took care of it. They pelted him with a bunch of pears and he took off.
Hubby: The squad? Who the hell are they?
Me: Oh, you know, they're always hanging around the yard.
Hubby: Oh, really? I was not aware. Do they harrass the neighbors too? Why have I never heard of them?
Me: Well you have been working a lot and haven't been home much so I wouldn't worry too much. I generally take care of them. Or sometimes I let the cat out to take care of them, but they nearly beaned the cat with a pear and he came tearing back in the back door like a bat out of hell.
Hubby: (confused and irritated) What the actual fuck? What the hell else goes on while I'm at work?
Me: Well I looked out the bedroom window and saw a pair of tits yesterday.
Hubby: (cautiously as if I'm losing my mind) Um, and who did they belong to?
Me: Oh, they were free.
Hubby: Wait a minute, were they peeping in the window? Where? How?!
Me: Well you know that post where we have the hanging flowers in one side and the bird feeder on the other side? Right between them!
Hubby: (becoming unhinged) What the actuall... we have vagabonds and peeping toms in the yard...Are you sure they were tits?
Me: Well, I'm not really good with that kind of identification, but, preliminarily, I'm going with tits.
Hubby: ( very quiet and concerned) Did anything else go on in our yard today that you haven't told me yet?
Me: Actually Mark was at the top of the Leyland cypress watching everything go down and mocking everything everyone else had to say. He's really nasty. I don't like him at all. He is always in everyone else's business. I really want to shoot him!
Hubby: Where's the shotgun? Are you crazy? You don't fucking shoot people when they annoy you! Oh my God, if things are this bad you call the police! Why would you not tell me that this shit has been going on? Who the fuck is Mark, that sonofabitch, I will...
Me: (giggling then laughing out loud) He's up there at the top of the tree right now. Don't you see Mark the mockingbird?
Hubby: looks confused
Me: ( laughing uproariously) And there's Carl the cardinal on the hammock. You can't miss him, he's bright red!
Hubby: ( cracking a grin) I can't believe you got me. So, the squad?
Me: The squirrel squad. They really do throw pears from the tree.
Hubby: (shaking his head) Aww, man, there really weren't any tits involved?
Me: ( laughing so hard I'm almost peeing ) Maybe! But, they might be sparrows, I'm not really sure!!