You know, I've spent my entire childhood, growing up, practically lying to myself that I can keep a pet alive, which in real life, is the total opposite. Believe me, I've tried keeping fishes, tortoises, dogs and birds as pets, every single time, nodding happily when being lectured of the responsibility of owning a pet before actually buying one, oblivious to the fact that I can barely keep any of them alive for a certain period of time. Yes, even with the aid of cages, aquariums, pet food and vets, nothing seems to be able to survive my care. I mean, come to think of it, it's practically a sin for the parents to agree on buying any living creature for me as they all well know that nothing escapes my hands alive. It's like murder - in a nicer way. Back then, it was either a burial in the flower pot outside the house or a funeral down the toilet bowl. I don't know why but I think it's a curse that I have zero pet skills that'll last me more than a week. Mom and dad can't even prevent the sight of overturned fishes in a clogged up aquarium. One conclusion, I'm not a pet person.
Considering that and thee fact that I can't keep a pet even if it was to save my life, I've pretty much grown out of my childish pursuits of keeping a pet, or rather, keeping one alive. Though, I must admit, till today, I still get the thrill of any slightest possibility of having a dog (Golden Retriever or a Husky anyone?) on my own. Grace and I too occasionally discuss about the possibilities of keeping a tamed lion, tiger, leopard and maybe cheetah all by ourselves, results of an old ING Insurance commercial. Wouldn't it be nice to come home and have something as humongous as a fully grown lion to cuddle and pet instead of a stuffed one? I mean, what are the odds right? Then again, the thought of cleaning up after it or having my hand fed to it just kills the idea of having one in a miserable small home, plus the nagging of mom on the fur it leaves behind and the damaged furniture. Mostly staring at a lonely and pet-less life down the road in the near future. At least, not for long.
Well, having poh poh bring an abandoned baby bird - a tiny little fragile featherless creature with a shape of a baby chicken, the size of a fist complete with a beak and a pair of wobbly feet and protruding underdeveloped wings - from her home in Balik Pulau after Hui Xing discovered it lying in a ditch outside the house pretty much changes everything. Being the kind hearted self and partly obliging the pleas of her granddaughter, poh poh picked the creature up and had it living in a plastic bag with newspapers inside, constantly feeding it and changing the plastic bag (it poops a lot). Poh poh brought the bird along with her for her usual weekend getaway to our place and left it at our place after Edmund pleaded if he could keep it. I frowned and gasped at the ridiculous request. My reaction was, what are you gonna do with a horrible looking creature like that? I'd understand if Edmund wanted to keep a puppy, but a featherless bird which is barely two weeks old?
Of course, I can't blame him for his sudden interest and curiosity. He is a modern town boy after all and getting so close to a bird is a chance as rare as having a tiger as a pet, so I understand he's enthusiasm. But is the thing going to be able to survive under the care of a modern town boy whose fingers are more familiarized to the PlayStation controls and GameBoy, rather than feeding any animal, for that matter? My guess is, the poor motherless creature wouldn't stand two weeks and is most probably going to die of neglect from the owner. The fact is, that's hardly the case. See, the bird, Twitty (as Edmund has taken the liberty to call it, contrary to the popular little yellow bird by the name of Tweety, famous for being unable to pronounce its 's') was hardly noticeable for the whole weekend while poh poh was here. After all, the thing didn't make a noise with poh poh regularly feeding it, thus shutting it up.
Now that poh poh's back home and the bird's with us, we're beginning to get annoyed. Who would've ever thought that baby birds have such a high pitched voice that it's almost painful to the ear everytime it goes on a chirping rampage. Given the fact that it gets hungry easily (hourly intervals!), judging by the easiness of it pooping in the plastic bag. Every single time the thing senses someone in the house, it'll start its uncontrollable chirping, hoping to get someone's attention, as if to say, "Hey fellas, I'm down here! Feed me!", which can easily drive one up the wall. Edmund has not felt the full range of annoyance of the thing yet as he spends most of his time out of the house at tuition and school. Whereas for people like akak and I, who spend a reasonable (if not all) amount of time at home, we're really irritated by the bird's chirping and feeding. Basically, we have to play the role of the mother bird, including stuffing food down its throat - with a little spoon, of course.
Ever since it's presence since Sunday, the house sounds like a freaking bird sanctuary in the late afternoons when akak's busy with house chores (often yelling out her frustration at the bird scratching in the plastic bag) while I'm in my room, blasting the music up to drown the sound of the bird in the kitchen. Don't be surprised that the both of us have been spending our lunch time discussing over various (undeniably vicious and devious) plans to put the miserable figure to sleep, most of which includes slashing and pounding and even frying with a hot wok of oil. Cruel intentions, I know but we really can't help it since it's been causing us our peace lately. So far, the least cruel ones we had was involving it tied in the plastic bag and the rubbish bin while the other one had to do with it frozen in the fridge. But akak wasn't keen on contaminating her food. Surprised by its rare silence, we'd never miss a chance of asking each other, "Did it die already? Why suddenly so quiet?" only to have it spring back up when either of us checks the plastic bag.
Discerning little bird brain. Almost impossible to tiptoe across the kitchen without it noticing.
I've been begging for mom and dad to send the bird back to its rightful founder and owner. The prospects and chances of the bird surviving with poh poh is definitely higher compared to the careless modern town boy. Really. Poh poh does possess skills in sustaining lives as such - unfortunate strays abandoned by their parents and left to fend for themselves in the streets. I've always thought that any creature to come in the hands of poh poh are the lucky ones. Though sometimes, the old woman can take it a little too seriously. The last dog I had, Jasmine, had to be sent to live with poh poh in her, back then, suburban house after much insistence from mom. Poh poh was way over the top, feeding it only certain types of food (mostly soft diet) and restricted the dog from taking a bath as she said it was too young and that it might catch a cold. Ever heard of dogs catching cold?
Still, Edmund refuses to let the bird go. Akak and I did try to convince him to allow us to set it free at the nearby park but he disallows and the mere thought of the pitiful creature being devoured by stray cats or dogs is haunting enough for both me and akak. In other words, we have to stick with the thing, until and unless, Edmund decides to set it free or return it to poh poh where it'll have a better chance of living. Right now, we have to put up with the chirping and the feeding and the pooping. Oh, we'd still be cursing under our breaths while exchanging ideas of strangling the thing to death over cups of coffee and loud music to drown our sorrows. Something inside of me tells me this is karma. What goes around comes around. After all those years of animal murder whilst growing up, this is the time I pay. Provided, of course, if the bird can survive my two week quota that I've given.