I was leaving the grocery store recently when my wife called. I answered and she said, “YOU NEED TO COME HOME. NOW.”
Based on this tone, this was not something I had done. I knew this, because that tone was not the one someone would use had I, say, left the toilet seat up. That’s the tone for someone who has just been caught replacing the dining room furniture with a video game arcade. And I knew I had not committed any egregious acts, so it had to be something I had not done, but needed to take care of.
“There is a BIRD in the house.”
Uh-oh. Now, my wife is a very patient woman, and very understanding that we are a family of animal lovers. She has evolved immensely over the years as snakes and lizards and possums and such have made their way into our house. But she draws the line at birds. They are welcome at the feeders. They can nest in the boxes. But they better stay outside. And this one had not.
I told her I would head that way. I asked her what kind of bird it was and where it was. “I don’t know because I’m outside,” was her very direct response. She then said, “My computer bag is inside and I have a work call in 15 minutes. You need to COME HOME NOW.”
The grocery store is just across the street, so normally this wouldn’t be a problem. However, I had just dropped our son off to go fishing a few blocks away. If I went home for a bird rescue without him, he would be devastated. “I need to get Parker first,” I said. She reminded me that the clock was ticking and that there was a BIRD IN THE HOUSE!
I drove to where Parker was fishing and rolled down the window. “There’s a bird in the house.”
As if we had rehearsed this 100 times, Parker quickly packed up his fishing gear and sprinted to the car.
As we were pulling into the neighborhood, my phone rang. I looked at the screen. It read “Parker’s phone.”
I looked at Parker and showed it to him. He put his hands in both pockets and said, “Where’s my phone!?!?!”
I answered the call. A voice on the other end said, “Hi, I found this phone on the road…”
I swung around and turned back toward the fishing spot. I called my wife. She skipped the usual “hello” and answered with, “WHERE ARE YOU!?!?”
I responded, “I need you to not freak out…” I told her that Parker had dropped his phone and we would be there as soon as possible. Her silence was not one of a pleased person. Tick-tock. Tick-tock
We arrived at the fishing spot and a nice young man was waiting for us with the phone. We gave a very quick, “Thank you thank you thank you!” and then made our way back to the neighborhood a second time.
We pulled into the driveway and my wife was sitting on the front porch She was wearing sunglasses, which meant I could not see the daggers she was no doubt shooting into me.
We sprinted inside to confront our avian invader. Nothing. Not a thing. Just a backdoor that I had left wide open earlier during the very pleasant day. We checked the house twice. Disappointed, we went outside. “It’s gone,” I said.
“Go check again.”
We did. Nothing. Later that night, as my wife was planning to head upstairs for bed, she turned to me and said, “If I get upstairs and find a bird…”
She didn’t finish the sentence, but my guess is she would have been less mad had she gone upstairs and found I had replaced our bedroom furniture with a video game arcade.
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike or at www.mikeslife.us.