Category Archives: Adventures with Ridi and Culo

mini blog related to January – August 2013

First Days

He glided across the barre, then step by step sidled back up to her, and then again, the second time situating himself next to Ridi and they chirped and squawked away for several minutes before repeating the whole thing a few times, interrupted at moments with breaks for personal hygiene.  Meal time was a whole ‘nother ball game, an intricate dance of grabbing and passing food back and forth.  But most of their time was spent side by side like a couple of old bats, gossiping and bitching and laughing and conversing.  After all this time living together you would think they would have said all there is to say and be completely bored with each other by now.  But they got along like Lorraine Perron and Ellie Gjerde, happy and anxious about each other’s presence at the same time.

Parallel lives, parallel movements, parallel right wing then left wing hygiene, they ruffle their feathers together,  perfectly synchronized.

In the kitchen at the same time, each making similar but not the same pasta dishes, chicken dishes…  Eating at the same table together, together but not together since they barely knew each other.  Watching tv; one at the computer the other on an actual television set, but both doing the same thing in a slightly different way.  It was a miracle the bathroom was available when one needed it.

Ridi somehow felt at home the moment her foot touched the inside of the large imposing door.  Ensconced and comfortable, even though it was just an empty shell of a cage, Culo had formed it into his world which was just exactly what she needed at the time, nothing more and nothing less.  It was full of nothing but his ego, his smell and some of his feathers laying around at the bottom and surrounding the cage.

Culo mentioned to Ridi one day in a moment of bird inebriation that a sexy Eastern European had interviewed before her but had no brain and then we interviewed and then later moved in.  But the very next weekend; the next incident of inebriation and beer he told Ridi she was the only person he interviewed.  She filled him in on his error to which he replied “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Then “it was a lie.” haha.


Black Beans and Feeding Frenzies

The cage was self-imposed, after all, at any moment any one could just fly away; it wasn’t that difficult beyond their own ideological boundaries. 

Culo was displaying again in the cage, his ego fawning, jumping to the top rung of the cage, wings almost full spread in their little space, and even gave a squawk.  Was it because she had committed Sin Number 1 and ducked her head under wing in a stance of humility and perhaps a little vulnerability?  She well knew NEVER ever to show vulnerability, that was rule #1 for survival in the cage.  Any movement, any signal was the open door to his fawning, even his rage and she feared that lack of equilibrium almost as much as he did.  If he squawked, she must just let him squawk patiently without being personally affected.  Maintain the control, the balance of power or she would repent for the rest of their existence together.

He was fawning over his big first day back to giving classes at a local private university where men must wear suits and ties every day, he was having a blast in the kitchen, pots and pans clanging and clacking, a multi-course breakfast.  If he had been Ridi he would have been singing, too, but at this moment he just had a slight curl at his beak and his tail feather at half mast.  Ridi noticed the physical symbols first, subconsciously of course, and responded likewise, chirping and singing and even untrepidatingly came up close to him, touching him while in his space and he responded likewise, his back and limbs soft and forgiving, his head slightly bowed towards hers.  “A breakfast for champions.”

He reached into the refrigerator and took the 2/3 full liter-sized container of the black beans she cooked up 2 days previous with jalapeno peppers and garlic cloves that she was planning on using with the shrimp she bought yesterday in an unprecedented splurge to eat something more interesting than the sunflower-less bird seed typically imposed into their cage.  He dumped the entire contents into the vegetable oil-lined wok and Ridi screeched and he squawked right over her in reply “it’s Gallo Pinto, the same thing you ate before.”  He could have left a few beans…

“Yes, and I noticed the other day the bad taste of that oil.”

“I’m not going to change the way I cook just for you,” he bellered.

“I would NEVER ask you to do that.”  Nor would she ever expect it.  And that was the beauty of the relationship as far as she was concerned.  No expectations.  None.  That was 90% beautiful and 90% true.  She enjoyed and needed her idiological space, especially in light of the lack of the physical.

She turned to stalk away to stew in her frustration when he stopped her with “fine, go to your room and cry”  IS THAT WHAT HE THOUGHT??!!  She stood fixed and stared at him in disbelief.  Disbelief at the gall he had to insinuate such strong reactions, disbelief at the quickness into which he fell from the top rung to the litter-lined floor, sweat and ire spewing from his pores.  His feet seemed nailed into the floor and she remembered Duane the Tub I’m Dwounding, equally rigid and unswerving.

For lack of a better response, she ducked her head slightly in like a bull, pushing herself into the almost nonexistent space they called the kitchen and proceeded to scrub a potato.  She was absolutely starving and didn’t know why since they had had an equally large and late dinner the night before.  Usually in those cases she woke up still feeling quite full.  He had already fried some plantain using that same awful oil, but her stomach really didn’t care.  “You could have used my coconut oil for that.”

“Too late.  Are you going to be picky?”

“Ha, no, I’m starving.”  So hungry she wanted to cry.  In one swift second she had lost any control about what she was about to put in her body at the start of the day, the time of day when what you put in has the most influence of how your entire day will go, which may, in some indirect play of fate, somehow predict and shape the rest of her life (after all, every day is the first day of the rest of your life).  She swallowed a fried plantain almost whole as she respectfully cleared the table of the computer he always insisted didn’t belong, as well as its accoutrements.

They sat down at the table shortly, with his laptop appearing out of nowhere, he watching some comedian on Youtube which she didn’t even try to pay attention to.  Instead she looked over at the birds, the bigger one jutting his chest out on the top rung as the other pranced back and forth on the middle bar.  Ugh.  Are we the chickens or the eggs in our symbiotic relationship?

The next day Culo made lunch; another gigantic 5-parts on the plate meal, but used the olive oil instead this time, and made it for the both of them to eat.  Maybe he felt bad about yesterday?  But he still wasn’t talking to her.  She felt he had a need for her, especially when he told her he got bored when she left the cage for weekend trips,  but of course that’s when he would least want her in his immediate circle of physical space.

What the Birds are Probably Squawking About

What the birds are probably squawking about all the time:

“So what did you have for dinner last night?

“WTF?!  I had bird seed.  The same damn bird seed we eat every day.  You know that, you were THERE! What kind of idiot question…”

“I was just asking–just making conversation since we’re stuck in this damn bird cage together day after day, what ELSE are we going to talk about?”

“I don’t know, your pathetic love life?”

“Well that’s YOUR fault since there ARE NO OTHER BIRDS within the 12 inches of our entire world.”


“Necesito un milagro.” There are no miracles left. “It’s amazing how two birds can live so nicely together in such a little cage.” You don’t really know someone until you have lived with them and breathed their air to truly … Continue reading

The Cage

Ridi was flying around the beautiful, lush foliage.  Perfectly trimmed and coifed, she was coddled and cared for, but her flying was not just aimless, it was dangerous.  She kept bumping into things, scathing her wings and plumage against the cold, the sharp, the prickly, looking enemies in their mouths, and sleeping in dark, wet marshlands and sometimes in places she couldn’t even try to describe.  

On this beautiful sunny summer day she was in her usual tizzy, flitting from branch to branch, trying to stay aloft when she landed in a cold, unfamiliar bed of what felt like metal and straw.  It smelled stale and synthetic, yet with a sense of odd familiarity.  It was not completely uncomfortable, but it wasn’t the familiar moist green she was used to.  There was a small click and it was then she realized she was not alone.  There was another of her and as she looked at him she realized he wasn’t her; there was no mirror nor its image, but he had a familiar smell and his plumage was similarly colored and he had the same perceptive and astute look in his eye that she knew they were of the same species and recognized him as her peer.

He blinked in response, with a small upturn on his beak and showed her around the space.  Small, sparse but somehow homey—perhaps it was those scents, or maybe something more primal—pheral?, like pheromones.  Or could it be the smell of depression or desperation or something related that they both had in common?

He was bald and thick, not handsome but not ugly.  Really, he blended in with other beings as well as his surroundings; not showy, at least not in a visceral way.  He moved in a way that allowed space for her to follow him on her own terms until he led her to sit on the brick-colored sofa that almost clashed with the cedar-tinted “hardwood” floor. (All this naturalness and nothing natural about any of it.)

They carried on in a careful and spirit-free chatter, chirping back and forth, fanning just enough to prove their positions in the room and in the jungle.  She with her damaged and bandaged front from her most recent klutzy episode, had suddenly forgot herself as he managed to go deep into their thoughts, the chatter turning into a higher-pitched chirp almost ringing out in harmonious brilliance until an hour passed and it was time to go.Image

Didier’s Birds

They live in an ornithological Grey Gardens, two symbiotic souls sharing morsels, complaints, and their space. On a good day the sun is shining onto the little balcony where their cage sits and they chit chat all day long. Perhaps on a given moment the vain male is fettering over his plumage while the caretaking female pecks away at her nails or maybe just sits there bitching at him just for his vanity “squack squack squaaack SQUAAACK”.

When I first arrived I marveled at my roommate how two birds can get along so well living side by side, day by day in such small living quarters, and I don’t know if he did, but I certainly felt the metaphor pull at me as these words slid out of my head and out loud from my mouth. If they can do it, we can do it. After all, the birds didn’t even choose each other, whereas we chose each other based on one hour of compatibility.

He claims his egocentric manhood by jumping up on the swinging circle, directly above the female’s head, especially when she’s squacking away. Then in another moment they seem to be either kissing or feeding each other as her head dips down for some morsel then over to his mouth in a moment of simple intimacy.

They are friends, partners, and cagemates, in a deeply entwined dynamic of partnership and co-survival, with the benefit of getting fed by an outside source (the human) once a day, so how could I NOT think of Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore? They are both blond, one with slightly more yellow than the other, just like the leading ladies. They sing and talk and fight and bicker and clean each other and feed each other, just as they go into independent mode, side by side remaining in their own worlds.

TO be continued…