Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Hum of Hunger

Two months ago, we put up a hummingbird feeder. It is a seemingly harmless glass container with little red perches. At first, we had to replace the sugar mixture once a week. Then it was every three or four days. Now we fill up the feeder in the morning and return in the evening to find it empty. I warned Meghan a few weeks ago that they were getting selfish. I told her that I had seen fat ones napping in the trees, their wings too heavy to make frantic little figure eights. I advised her to manage their expectations instead of rushing to fulfill their needs. But she didn't listen, and now she thinks we might need to get another feeder to prevent the crowd from dying. I think we need to teach them an important lesson in patience and discipline.

If you drive down the road a couple hundred yards, you can see the three trees that make up their apartment complex. In answer to why we suddenly had so many more birds to feed, we assumed that the first hummingbirds had spread word to their friends about the abundant food, but my friend Johnny told me that the first hummingbirds gave birth, and we are now feeding the parents and the babies. I'm not buying it. Some look related, but a lot don't. I think there are a lot of drunk neighbors crashing the family picnic, trying to get more than their share of the sugar water.

Today while the new mixture was cooling I went out to look at the empty feeder. As usual, there was a stout watchman asleep on his perch. I thought he was dead and had to watch him for any movement. And that's exactly what he wanted. He wanted to make sure I know it's all about him. I understand food anxiety; it's this small bird attitude of entitlement that makes me mad.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Blessed Giving of Thanks

A few years ago, my mom dared to leave the safe confines of Mission Viejo and attend a conference. All of the conferences/classical music summer camps that she attends are held in central California, a God-forsaken chunk of land that I would sell to Nevada in a heartbeat. While Mom disappeared to her hellish farmland location, my dad, sister, brother-in-law, brother and I were left to feed ourselves.

Days 1-3: Not a problem. The youngest of the group was 19, the oldest was 50, and everyone had successfully cooked the basics at one point in their lives: rice, pasta, jello, boxed mashed potatoes, and eggs.

Day 4: We realized that the pantry and refrigerator were nearly empty, with the exception of the foods that we will always own but never eat: kidney beans, baking powder, molasses, half a bag of split peas, and aged green onions.

Day 5: Someone opened the freezer to discover an 18lb. turkey. Plans were made to cook it in two days. Plans were extended, and a trip was finally made to the grocery store to buy the necessary ingredients for gravy, mashed potatoes (real ones), stuffing, salad, rolls, and dessert.

Day 7: Thanksgiving in August. Guests arrived and were forced to either dress like a Pilgrim or to make a Native American vest out of a paper grocery bag. New traditions were formed, including rules such as 1) eat pie directly out of the tin and 2) only be grateful for really shallow things, as it was summer.

Last Saturday, at 3pm, the new tradition was once again celebrated, this time in Santa Fe. The food was noteworthy, the costumes were darling, and the scripted family fights made it feel like a real holiday. Best of all, my heart was touched by the things that people were grateful for:

“I'm grateful for the drawer in the refrigerator that keeps my meat and cheese fresh.”
“I'm grateful for Allsup’s gas station, whose gas is three cents cheaper.”
“I'm grateful for bulimia, which allows me to eat anything I want.”

Friday, July 14, 2006

Spa Night

Last night, my sister and I went to a spa called Ten Thousand Waves, located in the hills above Santa Fe. The visit was a belated celebration of some recent job opportunities. We began with a long soak in the hot tub, followed by herbal wraps, massages, and salt scrubs. It's called the Buddha package, and when done correctly, you actually relax to such a degree that you attain enlightenment, and then pass out in the shower.

I told my masseuse that she could apply a lot of pressure, a mistake seeing as I think she spent the hour taking out a bad divorce on my back. She did not rub my back; she ransacked it. She pillaged, and then she plundered, and then she set fire to the whole thing. This morning I awoke wondering if I had been in a terrible bar fight that culminated with me being thrown into a juke box. No, just the massage. It hurts to sit down on a couch.

The question has arisen: if it hurt that much, why didn't you just ask her to decrease the level of pressure? I have no answer. At the time, it just seemed like a good idea to let the craftsman do her craft. In hindsight, one quick comment probably could have saved me a day of having to walk slowly and sit gingerly.

Regardless of whose fault it was (yes, I know it was mine),Ten Thousand Waves will now be called Ten Thousand Bruises. My mom calls it Ten Thousand Humiliations since her robe nearly fell off in the lobby during her last visit.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Hazards of Mobility

My sister told me that Santa Fe is famous for its bad drivers. I suppose when you combine lots of tourists with lots of old people, you are asking for a dangerous driving situation, but I didn't quite believe her. Maybe she's a liar, who knows? Maybe Meghan isn't even her real name. Maybe Santa Fe is full of really good drivers. All I'm saying is that just because someone has proven that they are honest, it doesn't mean that they are honest. You should probably think about that. Well, yesterday I saw a man driving around who was wearing an eye patch. Anyone who has ever tried to play a sport with one eye closed knows that all depth perception is thrown off when both eyes aren't open. There was a passenger in the car, and I think that perhaps the passenger and the sight-impaired pirate could have switched places.

While on the subject of bad ideas, I watched a man yesterday who was 1) wearing blue jeans and 2) walking on the treadmill. Sir, your life does not have to be that uncomfortable. If someone would let me run this city already...