This is a walkthrough of a day in the world from my perspective. It won’t contain much soulsearching or introspection, but more of my moment-to-moment experiences.
Early morning, for a weekend anyway, starts at eight or sometimes nine. Today the latter. When I wake I go through the same routine any bird does- stretching and slowly warming muscles into life. No bird likes being shocked awake, it ruins the entire day. I will wake at the slightest of noises yet disregard others, frequently sleeping through a familiar alarm clock. To compensate any alarm I set is a song or sound I can’t abide. My morning voice is usually quite soft, wake me before dawn or a half-decent patch of sunlight for me to bask in and I talk only in chirrups.
As I complete the daily routine of stretches I peer out my window down the valley and observe the weather. To me there is no such thing as bad weather, all the sky does is good. Today it is clear from East to West with a light breeze stirring the surrounding treetops. It will be a good day for anything. My plan today is for travel.
My journey does not begin until later in the day so I devote the remaining time to study. Unlike most other birds my days are mostly spent preoccupied with a human life. I may take the odd moment to phantom groom my equally phantom feathers but the grooming of my actual physicality takes precedence. With my last ever set of school exams approaching I make sure to keep to a sort of program. Being an educated bird is mostly entertaining, a different take on the education system leads to a certain amusement at its goals but I recognize their ‘human’ value.
It can be very distracting, studying as a bird. There’s a nasty habit of mine that renders me very easily distracted by anything moving around my peripherals unless I’m really focusing on the task at hand. This makes me very agile mentally as well, helpful for when an exam asks a curveball question. But the hours spent pouring over notes are long and arduous, only made bearable by the constant presence of sky outside my windows and a helpful selection of my favorite wingsuiting/skydiving videos.
When the time arrives I call a cab, grab my pre-packed overnight bag and head to my friend’s house. From there it is a two hour trip into the city. I don’t truthfully mind cars, happily switching between a state of calm disinterest akin to a hooded bird in transit [and I have on many a particularly long trip hooded myself with a blanket, jacket or cushion] and a keen observation of the sky passing by. However, a dose of fresh air from an open window is a must lest I get a little car-sick, dizzy and in general irritable. I have a habit of sticking my head out of the window to catch a breeze and look at the clouds.
This trip was nothing particularly out of the ordinary, just another transit. I can’t help but notice the quality and feel of the air as we drop in altitude to the coast. With a soundtrack of music relating to flight or from the video collection mentioned above, I free myself to mentally drift across the sky above because for the moment a car trip with the window down and my head craned back is the closest I’ll come to flying. Usually this brings on a strong phantom of stretching wings and straining to catch the wind with non-existent feathers. This in turn causes a bit of cramping in my shoulders, solved with another bout of flexing.
I limit myself to skygazing with the window closed as we enter the city limits because car fumes just make me sick and in due time we arrive at my friend’s sister’s house and unload the car.
As soon as I’m inside I encounter the first oddity of my day: cats. I have nothing against a well-adjusted house pet but any cat outside, in my yard is fair game for the pressure hose to the butt. And my friend just happens to breed some of the largest cats I’m ever going to see, Maine Coons. I’ve learned to exist beside them as they are such interesting characters in their own rights, but for other breeds I don’t have much care. The residents in this house are an ex-stud queen Minge from the family’s cattery and a Devon Rex whose real name is Pheonix but nobody calls him that. It’s Booba, he thanks you. Minge is the boss of the house clearly, with her fixed stare and high tail but I’m not here to challenge that. Booba on the other hand is a little eccentric. He might remember you on one day and be perfectly happy to curl on your lap or chest, headbutting for scritches and the next act like you’re carrying a hose aimed in his direction. Not an altogether bad bunch, but that is nothing to my second strange encounter.
A baby. A human baby. I get no urges to eat it or anything physically cannibalistic, but I am in truth rather confused and not entirely sure of it. I really don’t know what to do with it- or rather, her. Scarlette, Letty or Piglet. So I do what I have trained myself to do in such circumstances; I resort to parroting. I watch what my friend and her family are doing and I mirror it to the best of my ability. But it’s all a façade really. Most of my ‘normal’ behavior is. And I need to keep it that way in order to function.
It’s tiring, pretending to be amused by the infant’s facial contortions and odd squawks. This goes on late into the night and I keep a respectfully removed yet politely engaged distance that says “I’m aware, but not really interested.” The lively social environment makes for a fairly stressful evening but only internally. On the outside my life-long developed habits come into play and I dutifully and convincingly act the part of the polite, charming houseguest. I participate in conversations where they catch me and manage to get along well enough with the cats. Conversations are full of concentrating on suppressing head quirks and the ever constant presence of a small feather-crest flaring up and down, wings itching occasionally and even a half-decent phantom tail that prevents me from getting overly comfortable on the couch so I move to the floor instead.
Letty goes to bed early, I don’t interact much with her because truthfully it would confuse both of us. She was handed to me at one point and we both stared long and hard at each other until I slipped a little and quirked my head sharply sideways in my confusion which made her give a breathy infant chuckle.
A few dry humored and ridiculously boring movies later and the rest of us head upstairs to sleep. I bed down as much as I can, creating a little nest of two pillows, the doona and the bed wedged into the corner of the room, peering out the window at the moon. The nighttime rituals of a last groom before sleep, a few stretches and a final shuffling of my temporary ‘nest’ and I drop lightly off to sleep.
It has been a tiring day of social engagement that has put my human façade to a true test of my resolve, exposed weaknesses and areas that need to be improved upon- none more so than my blatantly apparent dislike of human young. But for now I’m happy to roost, I know tomorrow I will be going home to the clean air and high, sheer cliffs of the mountains with lessons learned. And who can ask for more then that?