There are many things about our new apartment that I enjoy, most of which I have belabored to death. I can see you all, eagerly clicking the Saturday Jane bookmark in your browser, nay, saved to your desktop, frothing slightly in excitement as you wait for my blog to load, trembling with the anticipation of a newly transcribed conversation between Taylor and I, only to find another apartment post.
“Euugh,” you say. “More of this? I get it already. Your tub didn’t drain. I know. I only read about it fourteen times.”
Okay. Fair enough.
But did you know I haven’t stepped in dog poop even once since we’ve gotten here?
I am certainly enjoying all of the expected aspects of our new place, but I’ve been surprised by how much I look forward to seeing the birds every morning.
Our living room has a large sliding glass door that looks over our tiny patio, the tiny strip of lawn, and opens into the expansive wetlands that stretch out until they meet the trees on the horizon. Those wetlands are absolutely jam packed with birds. Crows, robins, sparrows, and my favorites, the little juncos with their round bellies and black hoods. The wetlands are also host to a large population of scrub jays.
If my little friends The Juncos are honest, hardworking birds, then the scrub jays are the Cousin Blakes, who have collectively just lost their jobs, and can they crash with you, man? I mean, you’re cool, right? Also, they drank that wine you’ve been saving. Also also, they don’t really like wine, why do you keep buying it, dude, just get a case of brewskys once in awhile, that’s all they’re asking, seriously. Also, their bros are coming over tonight, can you like, pick up some chips or something?
In the morning, I open the blinds and toss a handful of old, crumbled bread onto the patio. It only takes a couple minutes for the birds’ built in Bread Radar to ping them in my general direction, and they hop around in the grass, evaluating my offering and chattering to each other in their chirpy bird speech to decide whether it’s safe.
Finally, a single tentative junco bounces forward, glances at me through the sliding glass door, and takes an experimental nibble of bread. Soon, he’s forgotten I’m there and he’s busily pecking away. His friends and associates, satisfied that I am not about to turn into a hungry cat and crash through the glass to devour them, all jump onto the patio and get to the pleasant business of sharing the crumbs.
And then, careening evenly overhead, the scrub jay appears.
He lands like a sack of bricks, stumbling onto the patio as the juncos scatter disapprovingly.
“WHAT UP BITCHES,” he seems to yell as he takes an appraising glance around. “We eatin’ bread out here? That’s cool, that’s cool.”
Rather than daintily pecking off what he needs, like the juncos, the scrub jay lunges forward and crams an entire chunk of bread into his beak. He swivels his head around, checking to see if anyone is going to call him out on it.
“Yeah, this bread’s okay, I guess,” he yells again. Scrub jays are infamously incapable of any volume other than yelling. “I like the kind with the little like, I dunno, are they seeds? I like the kind with the seeds better.”
Here he bends forward and crams in a second large chunk of bread, the first still hanging awkwardly out the side, gagging him slightly as he tries to make more room without swallowing.
“Ish cool, ‘doh,” he gargles, his beak overflowing. “If yuh wanna be cheap, whadevs. Whadevs. Jush shaying, dis bread ish shit.”
And with a final stretch of his brilliant blue wings, he snatches up a third chunk of bread. It dangles precariously from the tip of his beak as he flies unsteadily up to the fence and begins to gorge himself.
The juncos slowly return, whispering to each other and occasionally glancing over their shoulder at the offending jay as he swallows without chewing and preens himself inappropriately.
“Geez,” one of them mutters, taking a responsible little bite of crust. “Who invited that jerk?”
Not me, little bird friend, but you gotta admit, he livens up a party.