Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Surprising chicks

People and birds have surprised me.

Imagine sitting in a park that does not have enough trees, but does have a river view. Imagine watching the tides, another park goer on a green wooden slatted bench reading a newspaper, an occasional bird. My friend ate a muffin and tossed the muffin wrapper on the ground! Litter. But wait: a bird  began pecking at the crumbs stuck to the wrapper, and another bird joined it, and then another. The birds were the size of an egg, brown, and didn't walk so much as hop.

Then one bird grabbed the muffin wrapper in its beak, and flew several inches away with it! "I want it, I want it!" I imagined it saying as the other birds scattered, then came back. Their whole body would tilt forward as they pecked, then they would bob back up. Occasionally one would blink an eye! I stared. Then, disaster struck: the wind flipped the muffin wrapper over. The little brown birds pecked, but the crumbs weren't accessible any more.

What to do?

The birds wandered, the birds came back, looked at the upside down wrapper, dumbstruck.

I was surprised by how much joy I felt at seeing them finally flip the wrapper, gleefully pecking again. Then another bird grabbed the wrapper in its beak, and flew maybe a foot with it. This time the others did not hesitate to follow, but the new spot was under the railing. With each peck, the wrapper shifted position slightly, now partly overlapping the water. It felt like "The Perils of Pauline": would the wrapper fall to the river? But it was saved, as the birds pecked the paper further away from the water, away from the railing, and then they---

Then the birds dragged the paper behind a bench, and I couldn't see the drama anymore. I was surprised by how disappointed I was.

People I expect to like, but when I went to a new support group meeting, I felt like a "chick" (forgive the pun) out of place: in opening introductions I heard nothing I could relate to, and a bit that I disliked. One of them said something I would never say, another wore something I would never wear, a third I can't even describe my reaction to.

You can guess the punchline: I was tempted to drop out of the group,  gave it one more chance, and, could barely believe that I was feeling connected to the experiences of the ladies who, on the surface, I had so little in common with. I'm looking forward to the next meeting.

Whether it's as trivial as birds being fascinating, or as important as a support group, I've been pleasantly surprised recently.

If only I could remember this the next time I'm bored, or the next time something that might be "good for me" is a little uncomfortable. Maybe I'll start that diet the day after tomorrow, I mean next month.

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