Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pelagic form

Since moving West I have had moments of feeling homesick, yet with the understanding that I don't want to turn around and run back to where I came from. Not that I never want to set foot outside of California again, mind you. That was not supposed to sound like I never want to see people in the Midwest who I love again. I feel like this is where I want to be right now, and the homesickness is maybe more a symptom of adjustment than actual homesickness. And maybe an easier thing to feel than just straight-up stress, which there is plenty of to go around at the moment.

I miss my cat more than I'm letting myself think about. I was in the break room at work the other day and doing something at the counter--drying a coffee mug, prepping my coffee, maybe pouring a glass of V8 (yes, really; I drink it voluntarily with few regrets)--and I thought about how Dibby used to rub against my legs and cry at me impatiently when I used to do dishes or prepare meals. He'd often give up and lie on a plastic bag--plastic bags are his other love in life, after me--to wait for me. Still nearby, crying less often.

This memory of a series of memories of Dibbs led me to tell myself to think about something else, quick. It will just crush me if I think about him too much. He is normally just so much a part of my life, it's not like leaving behind my photo albums for a few months, which I did also leave behind.

Dibbs would greet me at the door, snuggle beside me on the love seat, knead the blankets in my bed and purr, finding a spot to settle next to me as I read. Right now there is no one who asks me for little pebbles of grossly-scented nutrition several times a day. So I just try not to think about him for very long periods of time. He is in good hands, albeit near other felines, I will be reunited with him eventually, and if I were in love with a man back East I'm sure it would be so much harder to be apart from him than from my little booger baby kitty. So I'm counting my blessings and hoping he's coping on his end.

Meanwhile the birds are taking care of me.

I am of the camp that finds most animals to resemble other animals, meaning birds resemble cats resemble lizards resemble dogs. I can see the differences, obviously--beak, paws, scales. But their facial expressions, their ways of looking at us humans: all have the same effect on me.

My dad automatically says "Duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck" (very quickly, each "duck" one right after the other) every time he sees a duck. I've taken to the same habit. It's an impulse, I can hardly help it. And when I see a bird, a squirrel, a four-legged buddy of any kind I find myself saying hello. "Hi, buddy!" Try and spend one day with me in which we spend at least some time outside and I bet you will hear these words from my mouth, directed at one not of our species.

On Saturday I was at the beach--duh--and witnessed some tamale theft. Actually I missed the theft itself, but saw the remains and witnessed the resulting hubbub.

The thief got away. Because he could fly.

That tamale was gone and there was nothing the original owners could do about it because the seagull had it so they might as well laugh, which they did.

They did put their food in a bag after that, however--a plastic shopping bag--and later abandoned their towel to go play in the water.

While they were away I watched a gull (the same one?) come and examine the bag. And grab the handle with its beak. Look at it curiously. Peck near the base. Make a bird call--calling his friends? Grab the handle again. Peck the bag again. Repeat.

Some other gulls came nearby, and the gull flapped his wings toward them and squawked at them, like a surly teenager who wants attention but wants to be left alone at the same time.

I was surprised by the flapping and the squawking, as I had assumed they were a team, or family, because they looked alike. Of course they look alike to us, as I imagine all of us look alike to them, but I'm sure they can tell the difference between each other the same way I can tell my brothers from each other. For all I know Joe--or Jane--Gull had no idea who these other crazy birds were who were trying to crash his--or her--party picnic. Maybe he was trying to organize the masses in order to effectively break into the bag and was aggravated by their inability to focus and attack before the picnickers returned to their booty.

I thought about this concept of automatically assuming they were together while maybe they were strangers to each other in fact.

One of the (human) picnickers eventually walked back and noticed the bird(s). He had been annoyed with the birds earlier, and I don't think he was too thrilled with them the second time around.

His loss. I enjoyed watching their head movements, their pecking, their bickering and flapping quite very much. And I'm comforted to know there will be birds waiting for me on the beach every weekend, to abate my missing of my beloved Dibbsy Bear. By standing in for him, in pelagic form.


  1. Yes, I just visited m-w.com to look up pelagic.

    : of, relating to, or living or occurring in the open sea

  2. I learned that word while reading "The Big Year"--a book about birdwatching. I loved the book. Movie did not do it justice.

  3. I think I might have actually used "pelagic" incorrectly in this post--haha.