I heard a bird yesterday in the attic. Let me be clear I love birds. I even have a bird feeder outside my living room window. I really care for birds. However, I don’t like them when they enter my attic. My anxiety started to set in. I imagined the bird plotting against me. Planning to leave marks all over my furniture.
I have mentioned it before, I love birds. I am in no way a bird hater. I just don’t want them in my attic. I thought with terror about what would happen if my kids came home and would need something from up there.
The anxiety took over. I had to get rid of the bird. I started shaking, imagining the worst. I didn’t know how to get rid of it but someone had to know. I could hear the bird flap its wings, as it flew around in the crawl space, flying into clothes, walls, and doors.
I started to call around. I could sense the smug smile on the first exterminator, when I called, as he explained that he didn’t do birds, they were too unpredictable. It was not the anxiety reducing answer that I needed. I could sense the cold sweat on my upper arms. The exterminator even mentioned that the bird would probably become over exhausted in two to three days, and I would then be able to pick it up of the floor and throw it out. This was not what I needed, three days of bird flapping his wings, just a door away from leaving excrements all over my home.
The next call was more successful. They promised to be there in an hour or two. I didn’t even ask about the cost or their methods, it just didn’t matter at this stage. Even if getting rid of the freakin’ bird meant rendering my house unlivable for a day or two, it would be worth it.
I couldn’t handle the sound of a bird in the attic, waiting to ruin my home. I double checked to see if all doors and windows were closed and went outside, while I waited for the fixer. I got in my car and drove around the neighborhood, trying to calm down as I waited for the phone call, but it was hard. The bird was still in there and who knew what it was doing to my house.
Finally, the fixer came. He smiled politely and asked me what was up. I tried to calm down as I explained the layout of the attic, and how the bird was probably ruining all my daughter’s stuff we keep up there.
The fixer walked around the house and located few possible vent openings the bird could have used to get in. I followed him around, and as he prepared to get into the attic, I pointed him to the stairs. I told him I would just wait down on the 2nd floor, this bird thing was just to much for me. As the fixer went up to the attic I closed the door safely behind him. Whatever happened, the bird would at least not come down. I stood by the door, waiting anxiously. There were things up there the damned bird could break or worse. I heard the increased flapping of the bird wings, I heard the fixer swear, it didn’t sound good, maybe all was really lost. After few minutes of intensity and stress the fixer came down, and said, “yea, there were actually two of them. They are in here now”, as he showed me a bucket and a shoebox, he held in his hand.
I asked the fixer if he could take care of the vent openings, and make certain that no birds could ever enter the house again. I again followed him, this time to our backyard and watched him carefully, as he climbed up a stair and but soffit vents over the openings.
I was still slightly shaken as the fixer asked if he should let the birds loose right away, or if he should drive them further away, before opening the box and the bucket. Remember, I love birds. I even have a bird feeder outside my living room window. However, those birds were not welcome on my property. I thought I should probably remove this damned bird feeder.
I had been shaken to my core. I could still hear the flapping of the wings in my head. I was not yet out of my fight or flight mode. I mumbled something, asking if the birds were hurt, and how they would response if they were let go. I love birds, but I was still anxious and afraid. The fixer heard how I felt, and said he would take them away.
It took my few hours before I could go up to the attic to look at the battle field, I was still kind of terrified, wondering if the third attacker was waiting in the shadows.
It is easy to claim to be a good person, and love birds, even feed birds as long as they stay on the other side of my window. Remember, I love birds and even have a bird feeder outside my living room window. However, when things don’t go our way, we can be quick to enter into a fight or flight mode, act out of anxiety, feel the perceived danger take over our lives. When it happens, the most aggressive, and simplified answer becomes extremely enticing.
The terrified bird in the attic, stuck and afraid, becomes a terrorist in our mind or worse. We close doors, build walls, and call for a fixer. We shake and cry and stress out. The rational voices telling us to wait it out, use common sense, don’t help. We need to do something, whatever it takes, and we need to do it now.
I life in a place of privilege and until yesterday, I struggled to understand how people could vote for Donald Trump as the Republican Party’s nominee for president. I just couldn’t make sense of it, my overly calculated and rationalized mind didn’t comprehend it. Then the birds came. I lost my cool, I stressed up, I needed a solution to my problem now. I was afraid, and I was angry that the birds that I felt I had fed, betrayed me.
I was willing to listen to any solution to my bird issue, as long as the solution was effective and quick. It didn’t occur to me to burn down the house and if suggested I would probably have vetoed that, but I was ready for some drastic measures.
Luckily, I contacted some sensible people that helped me deal with the problem in a sophisticated and gentle way. People, who knew that the birds were probably as afraid as I was, that the birds were also acting out of anxiety.
In real live that doesn’t always happen. When we are anxious, afraid, and angry, we tend to be captivated by the most vocal and angry voices. The aggressive voices somehow harmonize with our feelings. We fall victim to the quick solutions, and the lies of some grandiose fixers. We blame the birds, but not the careless maintenance of our building. We attack the vulnerable other, because we can’t seem to locate the roots of our anxiety.
I didn’t stay in the flight or fight mode for long. I was able to pay a person to fix my problem, and after few hours I was back to my overly rationalized and calculated self. I know that my ability to pay my way out of the stress, is a part of my privilege, as a well educated, white middle-age male, with a secure regular income.
I understand that not all, have the ability to just pick up a credit card, and have their problem disappear. Therefore, we have Donald Trump.