*Now, take my hand (or don't, if you'd rather not. It's not mandatory) and travel back with me...back...back...back through the sands of time...back into another year, another decade, another lifetime...back, to when I was nine years old, when I first thought of birds as more than just inanimate objects...back to before the blinders were removed from my eyes and I could understand the concept of evil...back to when all was right with the world...*
Here we are. In my childhood. The good old days. Currently, I am living in San Angelo. We have this awesome old rock house and a million-billion pecan trees and giant mesquite trees, perfect for climbing. There are scorpions, fire ants, dirt, cactus, and so much more that a child of nine can play with. This is the pinnacle of my childhood...the place where memories are made and fun is an every day, all day occurrence. This...is Texas!!! *Cue dramatic intro music*
So, in this awesome old rock house, there is also an awesome old rock chimney. And one day, as I was doing something in the living room, I hear something...a noise...coming from the chimney. It sounds almost like...chirping.
Dad was in the room, too. I told Dad that I hear chirping coming from the chimney. Dad says adamantly that I must be imagining things. I try to tell myself that Dad is right (cause my Dad is always right). But I keep hearing the sound. I tell Dad, more urgently this time, that I really really think I do hear chirping coming from the chimney, and I'm wondering how in the world Dad could be so dense as to not realize that the sound is chirping and it's coming from the freakin' chimney! But he is still adamant that no, it must just be a bird from outside.
Well, if he was going to be that way...I stalked over to the fireplace, determined to prove that I was right; there were birds in the chimney! Dad orders me to stay away from the fireplace. I sat a few feet away from it, staring laser beams into its smoky depths, willing whatever was inside to come out. Nothing happened.
So, I did what any good, obedient child would've done; I waited until Dad left the room, marched over to the fireplace and stuck my hand inside. I'm sure a few moments later, when Dad heard the shriek of delight and surprise emanating from the living room, he regretted ever leaving me there alone.
I didn't care what punishment I got for disobeying him. I pulled one...two...three...four...five! birds from their sooty prison. Imagine the utter gleeful delight of a child who adores animals (especially wild animals) and suddenly has five of them fall down her own chimney! It's like Santa came early and threw five squabbling baby sparrows down the chimney to save time.
In all reality, the birds were the essence of ugliness. They were still too young to have feathers, and squabbled like crazy, for what, I didn't know. I quickly became a celebrity and a hero, to my siblings, who all wanted to hear the dramatic, highly-embellished tale of how I'd risked life, limb, and Dad's wrath to save the nasty, disease-infested, ash-covered, obnoxious baby birds, which surely would've died, had it not been for my bold act of disobedience.
I found out pretty quick that being thrust into motherhood is not much fun. The baby birds squawked every minute of the day, no matter how many cornmeal clumps I fed to them. They were never happy, never satisfied, and after a few days I was beginning to rue the day I'd pulled them from the fireplace. When they began to die off, I was falling apart on the outside, but inside I was relieved. When the last one died, I cried, but only halfheartedly. I'd failed them, but I blamed it on their real mother, who somehow managed to let her entire family fall down a chimney. Some mother she was.
After that, I became apathetic towards the concept of birds. I wasn't opposed and I wasn't in favor. It didn't really make a difference to me either way what happened to them. They could fall into the fireplace while a fire was in it or they could fly up into the clouds for all I cared. Made no difference to me either way.
That changed when we moved to Minnesota. I was about 13. We (Dad, Nikki, Jim and I) had been watching TV late one night. Our program ended at around midnight and I fully expected Dad to announce that it was time for bed. Another program started on TV--a movie--and Dad said we'd like it, so we watched it. It turned out to be The Birds, by Alfred Hitchcock. Stupidest. Movie. Ever. Eventually, watching seagulls attack helpless people unprovoked, pecking their eyes out and somehow busting through car windows and doors to get to the people inside (you never find out why, by the way) was enough to tip the scale from "apathetic" to "dislike". Go figure.
Another weight was thrown on the "dislike" side of the scale when we moved to Ceresco, when we somehow came into possession of a demon-possessed parakeet. Actually, he wasn't demon-possessed when we got him. He was actually normal for a little while, and I actually almost broke my hand trying to save him from a rabid ceiling fan.
But things took a turn for the worst when we got him a mirror. Birds love mirrors, right? Yes, they do. They love them. They LOVE them. THEY LOVE THEM!!!! They love them so much, they attack their owners who thought they were so cute in the beginning. They sit with their beak touching the mirror and chirp to the budgie inside, so in love with their own stupid reflection that they literally--LITERALLY--bite the hand that feeds them!!
Over time, I grew to hate that bird above most other things in life. He'd turned from a cute little blue bird who would sit on your finger or shoulder and chirp into your ear, into a rabid, angry, mean-spirited spawn of Satan.
That did it. The scale was forever shifted from "dislike" to "hate-with-a-deep-burning-passion". No, don't try to convince me that I've just had bad experiences. I don't care if your budgie was nice. I don't care if you raised a sparrow from infancy. I don't care if your budgie would tuck you in at night and bring you a midnight snack. I hate them. I hate them forever.