by Cindy Haney
The other night my family and I were getting dressed to go to dinner to celebrate my husband’s 50th birthday. Just as we were about to leave, Paul opens the front door, and suddenly I hear screeching from both my daughters AND my husband.
“Ahhhh! Bird in the house! Bird in the house! Oh my God, there’s a bird in the house!”
You have to realize that my husband ‑ although we love him ‑ is not your typical testosterone-fueled manly man. He’s more like a girly girl when it comes to bugs and other life-threatening animal beasts. Ok, this was just a tiny bird, but STILL….
A bird had flown in through the front door and was flying around in a crazy tizzy, running amok throughout the house and smacking into walls and ceilings. We were suddenly in a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” where the all of the birds of the world start attacking the human race. You should have seen us screaming and losing our minds and trying to duck into corners to avoid the Wrath of the Evil Wren. We suddenly became pants-on-head retarded. It was truly ridiculous.
In the midst of it all, out of the corner of my eye, I see Amanda – ever the photojournalist – filming the entire scene with her freakin’ I-phone and laughing like a hyena.
Oh god. This is SO going on Snapchat and Instagram.
“What the hell?” I scream. “This is no time for documentary filmmaking! We’re having a crisis!!” In hindsight, that might have been slightly overdramatic.
So after a long, super-extended period of mind-losing hysteria, we had to tap the brakes a little and calm down so we could figure out what to do. We needed a plan, man. Grabbing the bird, or catching him with a net was out of the question, since we have an unusually high 2-story ceiling in our main room. And to the bird’s credit, he was hanging out on the ceiling and the second story in order to avoid the mass delirium of screaming humans going on downstairs. Wise choice.
Paul’s first brilliant plan is turn on all the lights and make as much noise as possible, open the front door and (a) hope the bird flies out or (b) dies of sudden cardiac arrest. This is where it really gets funny. So Amanda contributes to the Family Wisdom pot and decides to blast Screaming Hawk noises from her I-phone to my new Bluetooth house-wide speaker. I can only imagine what my neighbors were thinking as they drove by. Here we are with the front door open, African hawk sounds pouring out into the night, and all four of us are yelling weird noises and dancing what looks like tribal interpretive dance moves in our living room.
I’m not even making this up.
After a long while of this, we decided we needed a new strategy. Turns out that, thanks to Google, insane screaming is what’s causing the bird to lose its mind and smack into walls erratically. So our new approach is to turn off all the lights and noise, keep the door open and sit silently. Suddenly the bird stops its crazy circling, smacks into the wall in the dining room, slides down the wall behind the curtain… and silence. Amanda and Emily theorize that maybe the bird was sick to begin with and came into the warm house on a cold winter night looking for a place to die. Great, now we feel bad. And also, what do we do now? There was no way any of us were going near that curtain. And we couldn’t leave for dinner with a bird in the house!
We sat there in the dark for a while trying to figure out who we should call. My brother is 30 minutes away and so is my Dad. That’s too long. So we called Amanda’s boyfriend who came right over. He thought we were fighting a massive flying pterodactyl.
“Guys, calm down.” He said, “It’s a tiny bird.”
When he saw the ridiculous scene of all us cowering in the dark with the door wide open, he must have wanted to die laughing. Either that, or suggest therapy for our collective irrational fear of garden wrens. Suddenly, we hear fluttering behind the dining room curtain. The girls and I start screaming again, and that’s when Taylor, The Superhero, took over. He tells everybody to be silent, grabs his Star Wars light saber that he got for Christmas as a weapon, and climbs to the top of the 2-story stairs to determine if the bird is in fact dead or not. Turns out the bird was just stunned, but very much alive, which we found out pretty quickly when when he flew like a kamikaze out of his hiding place straight at The Superhero with the light saber.
But The Superhero didn’t even flinch. Meanwhile, my big 6-ft tall husband is whimpering with fear in the closed-off kitchen, and eating leftover Christmas sugar cookies to console himself, all the while complaining that he’s going to miss his birthday dinner!
But The Superhero had a brilliant plan. With Hans Solo-like prowess, he somehow waved the bird into the upstairs bedroom that has a window that opens wide without a screen. He turned off all the lights, except a small one in that room which lured the bird in there. Once in the room, he trapped himself alone, in the dark (you know, THE DARKSIDE) with the bird flying wildly about the room. After several tense moments of Alfred Hitchcock-like suspense and imagined terror, we begin to fear the fate of the brave Superhero.
Suddenly, he emerged victorious! The bird finally flew out the window. Having defeated the evil forces of the feathered universe, The Superhero enjoyed his hero status because he had saved the screaming weirdo, tribal-dancing family from yet another threat from the animal kingdom. The Force was truly with us that night…. em, er, actually, it was a college boy who now thinks we’ve all lost our minds.
And the best part was, we made it to the birthday dinner on time! Happy BIRD Day, Paul!!