I’m all for hanging out with my birds. They’re part of my life and an important part. They are my first consideration when I’m going anywhere doing anything. And if you are a responsible family member with birds, you do the same thing. Some people take it a little too far over the edge and never go anywhere which I think is a shame, but hey, it’s their life. Last night I got stuck on the tarmac at Miami Airport for over an hour due to a hideous storm over the airport.
Rain is something the ramp guys can handle, they’re used to getting wet and have escorted more planes into a gate in the driving rain than you know. But when you have a lot of lightning in the area, the airport closes the ramp and they don’t go out. It’s just too dangerous.
Which leaves airplanes either diverting to another airport to refuel and wait until they can get slotted back into their destination airport and get a gate. This can go on for literally hours when you have hundreds of planes that have stacked up either taking off or landing at a busy airport in a given time.
Last night we were lucky with just a one hour delay. When I first learned we were going to be delayed, I whipped out my phone and called Bill letting him know what was happening. He said, “All right, don’t worry, when it’s time for bed and you’re not here, I’ll put the birds to bed. Thanks for calling.” And that was that. I didn’t think any more about it other than that the drive home was going to be hell. (It was.)
Two hours later I got in. The doors were locked, lights were out and the birds were asleep. All was well. There is also an unwritten understanding around here. We call it the “Whites of Your Eyes” law. Sometimes I end up in a place where I simply cannot call. If I’m stuck on a ramp in Haiti or God forbid, Caracas, I simply cannot call. My phone will not work.
So, our unwritten rule is, if Nan and Bill know I’m supposed to be home at a certain time and I’m not, they proceed without me. They do what they need to do for the birds for as long as it’s needed until they see the whites of my eyes.
Living in the world of travel and airlines, circumstances can change in an instant. They know this and also know I can’t always call. So they just go on about the business of caring for the flock until I get back. This doesn’t happen often, but it has on occasion and while it’s not fun, I have to deal with it.
My birds don’t seem to be troubled very much by my being gone on occasion. After 9 years of putting up with my flying career, Parker is fairly used to my walking out the door with my bags and not being real sure when I am returning. The one thing he is sure of is that I will return. I’m pretty good that way. So he doesn’t get all bent out of shape about it when I take off. I give my birds a lot of credit: they have their own lives.
I kind of look at them as independent teenagers: it doesn’t bother them very much when you’re not around once in a while. Parker has his own thing going with both Nan and Bill. When they are around, I might as well drop into the ocean. Nyla absolutely adores Bill and given her druthers, she’ll go to Bill every time. Don’t get me wrong, we get along just great and if he’s not here, she manages to settle for me and I know she enjoys being with me. But her Dad is who she prefers. And that’s just fine.
Pepper is a little more reserved with them and it took her longer to find her way to liking their company, but over the years this little girl has formed a relationship with both of them. She is the sweetest little Grey I’ve ever met, but then, I’m the big cheese in her life and so with her it’s all about me when I’m around. Parker is the town hussy. I raised him to go anywhere and be with anyone, and so he does have that quality.
So I tend to give them credit in the fact that they don’t need me around every freakin’ minute. Like I said, they have their own lives, their own relationships and this is as it should be. Birds are far more adaptable and flexible than we give them credit for. And if you reinforce alternative relationships, allowing them to forge friendships and make buddies with other people, not only will your life be easier, it’ll be more enriching for the birds. Just like teenagers, you have to let them go a little in order to love them more.