I’ve always fancied having a pet cockatoo.
For those of you not familiar with Australian birds, here’s a fine example:
The trouble is, I’m quite scared of birds. With good reason! We used to have a pet Galah (another fine, feathered Australian) who loved my father, tolerated my mother and brother, and hated me. She was jealous! She would even go as far as pretending to flirt with me (this bird would actually flutter her eyelids and purr like a cat!) in order to make me feel it was safe to tickle her under the chin (her favourite gesture of affection from my father). As soon as I plucked up the courage to put my finger near her chin, she’d lunge in for a bite!
I suspect that a pet Cockatoo would not be much different in its approach toward me. Even if it didn’t bite me, there’s the very real possibility that it would screech – very loudly and very persistently.
But I do love them! I love their character, their playful eyes, the way they dance if they know they have your attention. Occasionally, they will learn to talk by imitating words they hear. My aunt’s cockatoo used to fairly constantly cry out the name of my cousin! It was clear that my aunt was in fairly constant communication with her son…
When I long for a pet bird, or a dog, or a goldfish, I realise it’s a longing for connection with living things that respond.
I figure I’d be better fostering relationships with humans who aren’t quite as likely to bite me – though they may, occasionally, screech.
This morning, on my first day of some prescribed ‘time-out’ from work, I began the day by sitting at the kitchen table reading and eating my breakfast. I was feeling cold. So, I did something I’ve never done before in this place I’m staying, I took a chair and placed it neatly on the very tiny verandah at my back door. There I sat, in the sun, with a book and a coffee. I felt the sun on my face and heard the birds in the trees around me.
I shall do this again! One day I may even see a cockatoo while I’m out there.