God, You Really Piss Me Off

Tuesday 17 November 2009

It's times like this that you really piss me off, you know that?

Because it's such a small thing you could have done, but you didn't. And I could get upset at the larger things, and I do, but just because there are larger things doesn't negate the small thing you didn't do. It just adds to it.

The sparrow was there when I got to work, in the foyer. Trying to fly out to its mate that sat beyond it through an invisible pane of glass. The door to freedom was right below. It could have flown out if it just flew down a bit, felt the breeze coming in through the door, stopped bashing itself against the glass.

But sparrows don't know anything about glass. Although apparently you know about this sparrow. And hairs on heads. You know everything that is going on. You could have done something. You could always do something but you don't. So often you don't. And I know the theological arguments, and I am at peace within myself with certain philosophical conclusions I have reached about free will and about bad shit happening and about healing and love and growth and etc etc and that's all fine and dandy but it still doesn't stop me from being really angry at you. Because it's different when it comes to animals. They have an innocence and a dependence on us, and we make the world so difficult for them to live in with our insistence on vomiting carbon and on foyers and on glass and such things.

I went upstairs and I was sad for the little bird and I hoped that somehow when I next went out to the foyer it had flown its invisible creepy coop. And so then an hour went by and Mary came back upstairs after being downstairs, and was visibly upset. Me and Mary are the biggest animal lovers in the office. We look at each other's photos of our dogs and coo. We say cynical things like who needs men when you've got a dog. Mary was visibly upset because the bird was still downstairs beating itself against the window trying to get out.

And so we went down. And there were two other people there as well. And we armed ourselves with brooms and scared the poor little darling who didn't have any idea what was going on, only that these weird smelling humans were coming at it. And we tried to coax it out the door but all it kept doing was flying into the window and then sitting on the ledge and then flying over to sit on the overhead lights, and then back into the window. All it needed to do was to look down, change its trajectory. Stupid thing. Trying to do the same thing over and over again. But yet we do that too, don't we, with our massively larger brains. And anyway, it's not true what they say about birdbrains even though it's a cliche in our lexicon. We think that size determines ability but it's been proven that birds can think and reason, beyond what they rightfully should given their brain size. Magpies grieve when their mates die; cockatoos mate for life; chimps virtually cry when one of their own dies and visibly go into depression.

And so that's why it upset me because this poor little thing was trying to get outside to its mate, and it would have been distressed in some sort of fashion, it's heart would have been beating fast, it would have been in pain bashing itself against the window, and it would be no skin at all off your invisible nose and did you do anything? No, you didn't. And I come out to leave work at 6pm and this poor little thing has been tiring itself out, and now there is a man with a bike in the foyer standing holding the door open, and people have been holding the door open all fucking day for this bird. And I prayed earlier in the day that if you didn't do something directly to the bird, whisper to it in birdish to fly down and out, that you would do something in the people, that you would inspire someone who was standing in a particular spot to move one inch to the right so that it was in the perfect place to create the necessary angle for the animal to shoot out the door. Or that someone would come with a ladder and a towel or whatever. It's SO not a big deal, right? People are dying every day of debilitating illnesses and drug overdoses and heartbreak. Why can't you at least give a bit of an extra helping hand to a stuck bird?

It was SO not a big deal. But we both know it doesn't measure out like that, because what seems small is actually big and vice versa, and you are love and all that stuff I know that in my bones. And I know lots of people will say it's not a big deal worth even worrying about but when it comes to these creatures my heart is fully open and it is a big enough deal that I have cried tears and I know it's some sort of prayer. I always feel this way when I cry to you about the animals, and it is you crying through me to you about the animals because it grieves you.

Even though you've got it all covered even when we can't see that, and that you know when this particular bird will fall to the ground. But even knowing that and knowing you grieve and care and love makes it even worse because you could have done something and you just fucking well didn't.

And I'm really angry at you that you didn't. And that you don't.


Edit: next day. Mary took some bread and water to the bird this morning, after it's day and night of no food. And she led a trail out the door, and it flew out. Yay for a happy ending :)


  1. Yeah, I have been like this lately too.

  2. Teresa of Avila once said something to the effect that we are Christ's hands and feet: he has no others. Mary was his hands and feet, and heart, for your sparrow, don't you think? (And no, it doesn't depend on her knowing that's what she was ;-) )

  3. Tyler - yeah, it's fun, isn't it.

    Mike - That is exactly what I said to Mary. I said to her that I went home and cried and was praying for someone to help her, and that she was the answer to my prayer :) It was quite sweet actually


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