You just can't tell when work will end or start sometimes. We're heading to the beach this weekend for an office party being hosted by my husband's company. When I know we are going to be MIA for a half day I try really hard to fill every body's cages with new, fresh and exciting things the night before. We put the birds to bed, and like a sneaky Santa I plant their cages full of foods, foraging, toys, treats and surprises. Keeping them out of their cages is the issue the next day. Like 4 year olds on Christmas Day they all head straight to what they don't recognize in their own cage. Okay, well, every birdy but Felix. Felix is irritated that I would have considered this idea. BUT because I always buy the same "surprise" as the last time, it's only a short lived Grey Huff. I feel so much better leaving knowing it will take hours for them all to find it all, explore it all and demolish half of it. Except Felix, when we get back he will be sitting next to the not new new surprise giving it the Eye of Disdain. He likes this, trust me.
But I digress. So off I go today to gather new toys and goodies, which I've already ordered online, but won't arrive in time for our day out. So basically, they all get a 2fer of stuff due to my poor planning. At one store I'm standing in line with an armful of stuff and one large macaw sized wood hanging toy. Two and a haf feet of colorful blocks strung on colorful grass rope. These are big, and long and clanky and get the attention of the woman next to me in line. And this is the moment I'm back on the clock.
"WOW, that is so colorful! Who's that for?" Interested lady inquires.
"These are for our macaws." I reply with a smile. I smile because right now I know I have a moment to change a mind.
"What's a macaw?" Interested lady asks.
Okay, forgive me, but I was a tad taken aback on that question. I'm so entrenched in this world now I actually find it amazing someone would not know what a macaw is as a companion. But again, joy at the opportunity to educate!
"A macaw is an exotic parrot, around 2 pounds of gorgeous feathered parrot. We have a Scarlet who is red, yellow and blue and a blue and gold, respectively." I answer simply. I have no idea where my line neighbor sits in this type of reference.
"WHOA! DO you make them have babies? I bet you could make alot of money making babies from them! Then you could just sit around on the back deck and relax!" Cartoon dollar signs sat in her pupils like a Bugs Bunny Cartoon. I was waiting for Elmer Fudd to show up it was so obvious and so obscene. She truely meant what she said. Her greed and disrespect and misunderstanding were obvious and ugly. That's a direct quote by the way. Those are exact words. Which again left me dizzy for the sheer cold heartedness and ignorance on display. BUT, joy at the opportunity to educate!
"Oh no. Never! You see a companion parrot has the intelligence of a 5 year old and the lifespan of a human. They understand themselves, their world and our home. There is very little difference between a kindergartener and a companion parrot. I would never disrespect or dishonor the trust and love my parrots give me every day. I would never degrade the value of them by breeding for profit. Companion Parrots are not a commodity, they are a friend and companion who chooses to trust and love." And then, with the most amazing results, dead silence hit the checkout line. The woman before me, and 4 behind the woman I was talking to all stopped talking and listened. Dead silence as we all waited for my line neighbor to either acknowledge what I said, or refute it as wasteful.
"I had no idea!" Interested Lady finally responded. "I had NO idea they were so, are those little parrots over there the same way?" Joy! Opportunity is a joy.
"They are and can actually exceed expectations by the mere act of investing time. They are not dissimilar to children really as far as intelligence. The more you give and instruct, the more they understand. They learn language the same way as a little one." Yes, I'm enjoying this process.
Here's where things get fun. The woman before me agrees. But yet she has only dog and cat food in her cart. "But", she inquires,"do they really understand?" Joy! Opportunity doubles down.
"Absolutely." I confirm with a grin. "Our African Grey, Felix, let me know I didn't give him enough apples today for breakfast." Laughter cascaded through the checkout line in both directions.
"I had no idea! Now I do! I am sorry to have made your special parrots not special. I just learned they are!" Interested Lady smiled and put her things on the counter while I checked out an armful of parrot toys.
"No worries." I responded."We were supposed to meet today. Now you know, and if you should ever have the chance to talk to a parrot. Do! A parrot conversation is something you just can't explain in a checkout line."
And when you have the chance to talk to about parrots, do! Because it's the words we use, and the ideas we change that will make all the difference. And look, I'm still on the clock working retelling the story. And for those concerned; Felix got his proper apple quota.
All is well if not a little better.