Change is hard

He’s an old man now.

His feet are puffy and red. The skin on his face is thin. His feathers, however, are still vibrant green.

Three weeks ago, I walked into my small macaw’s room and flipped the light in the dark, looking for something or other. One of his eyes stayed shut. I wondered if I’d caught him half asleep. I turned off the light.

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A day or so later, I took him outside on his perch and set him near the edge of the pool. I lowered myself into the water, making our faces level. I noticed the redness in his eye. An infection? Or did he just poke himself. I should really cut his nails..

It seemed to clear up on its own until, two weeks later, I found him with an eye glued shut again. “Oh no, Bird bird!” I put warm water on a paper towel and gently touched it to his eye. It opened.

I thought about cancelling my vacation. This vacation I have been preparing for since I bought my ticket in February (and probably even before). Bird bird has been with me since I was 4, and he was a year old. That makes him 22. That makes him old. Could I live with myself if the combination of this illness or infection and his loneliness from missing me combined to cause his death? Birds are known to die of heartbreak. And colds.

I took a shower with him. He gratefully leaned into the warm mist. He does not usually like to be touched with fingers (4-year-olds aren’t the greatest at teaching birds to enjoy petting) but he let me gently rub his face with one of mine, oh so carefully wipe away the gunk in his eye. He is finally starting to trust me, to really trust me.

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Ultimately, I decided I couldn’t make a decision without more information. I scheduled a visit to the vet. I prepared a box lined with towels in the passenger seat next to me. He made sounds of fright, and so he rode the 20 minutes on my shoulder. He hasn’t been in a car since we moved to San Diego.

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I don’t know how I know he’s grouchy. His noises change. He gets nippy. He doesn’t want to be moved. The car ride made him grouchy. But he’s a good bird and weighing him at the vet office was easy enough. 145 grams. (I am so desperately in love with a being that weighs just 145 grams.)

The vet said his feet are perhaps just puffy because they are “old man feet.” She trimmed his nails. She suggested a soft rope perch. And he probably has conjunctivitis. For her opinion and a tiny tube of ointment, I willingly pay $110. I go home with hope that I did the best I can. Not hope about his lifespan.

I know he will die someday. I didn’t realize, however, I would recognize him growing old. I thought that, like many birds, he would die suddenly after having hid a simple cold from me. By the time you find them on the bottom of their cages, it is often too late.

His feet are strong enough to cling to his perches. They are strong enough to climb on top of the shower rail. Yet, nails trimmed, he could not cling so strongly to my fingers. Not like when he was young.

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Goo

I missed my post last week. As self-punishment, I will share a very personal essay I performed at a recent variety show. It is called…

Goo

I could define the moment when I started to leave the comfortable, safe nook of being Daddy’s Girl to enter ‘womanhood’ by my preoccupation with my scent. Previously, I was happy to believe my father when he told me antiperspirant is the devil and deodorant is unnecessary. Then I started to really stink. Maybe the first time Daddy was really wrong was when my B.O. betrayed me. Thanks for that.

Armpits, okay, that’s easy for me. I put on my Tom’s of Maine after showers and don’t think about it. I think, though, you might not be aware of this secret world of crotch stink. I, and other women who have been brave enough to tell me, live in fear that the whole world can smell our vaginas. Is there something wrong down there? Am I diseased? Am I a slut? Is my body communicating to me about ovulation? Am I emanating pheromones? Could my pheromones be a little more selective in who they attract? Finally, if I catch myself liking my own scent (and Fat Bastard reminds us everyone likes their own brand, don’t they) is it because I’m a perverted narcissist or am I just happy my juice smells healthy?

Then there is the matter of which Goo do I put on my hair and skin? Most of this Goo is scented (or promises not to be). Some of the Goo smells delicious and wonderful out of the bright green bottle, or when it is another woman’s hair. Then I put this same Garnier Fructigoo in my own hair, and over time it turns into odor of rancid apricot sunscreen. I repeat for many weeks until I swear off Garnier fucking Fructis for life; this Goo will never be the Goo for me.

Perfumes come in artfully shaped bottles and ethereal colors, like witch potions. The boxes are thrown out, stickers removed, and thus there are no ingredients listed, like hard liquor. That is how I see them on bathroom shelves and counters, crowded together like bar booze or wizard elixirs. There is no test I can take to see which lab-concocted smell won’t turn into rancid apricot sunscreen on my body. I go online and read reviews where women tell me their “chemistry” goes really well with one thing or another, and I wonder if she smells like me. So far I’ve figured out that my chemistry is decidedly opposed to being smothered in “fruity” Goo.
It gets worse. You find a Goo that isn’t awful and is maybe making your skin/hair moisturized. Over time, however, the Goo leaves “deposits” on you. That is the term accepted by Girl Experts: deposits. For optimum Goo satisfaction, you are supposed to switch products, so that your brand new Goo can wash away the deposits from your last Goo.

There’s more. You can’t put most Goo in your Vagoo. It will disrupt your “feminine balance.” Everything you have learned from lotions, soaps, etc. for your skin does not apply down there. Some of the things advertised as safe are a lie. So when I can smell my own crotch when I’m trying to have lunch with my dad, I am secretly panicking about the limited number of solutions at my disposal. Meanwhile, after a day playing frisbee, he smells like a salty animal and doesn’t really seem to mind.

Why Bernie is my political “first”

It’s not that I hate politics. I don’t care enough about them to hate them. Am I really lazy and self-centered? Finances: handled. Family: close. Friends: cherished. Art (and writing): nourished. Health: decent. Love life: abundant. Party life: probably too abundant. I’ve got a lot going on, and while I certainly could shift my priorities to make time for becoming worldly and political, I always have just hoped things like global news and government would become naturally more appealing as I aged.

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Photo: Noa Azoulay http://www.featherlove.com

Enter Bernie. My friends seem nuts about him. I watch some videos. This guy is consistent. I read some articles. Really consistent. I get invited to a rally. I say yes and then hundreds of people say yes.

Everything about this candidate and the movement surrounding him makes me feel like now is the time to enter this conversation I’d been so long avoiding — been plugging my ears saying lalala (or really, just turning down the volume). Admittedly, I don’t know a lot. I know he uses the phrase, “enough is enough,” he speaks candidly about 1% of the population owning 90% of the wealth, he’s been pro marriage equality for decades, and he’s pretty serious about global climate change.

I’m not worried about not knowing so much, this time. In previous years, I procrastinated filing out my write-in ballot because the task of deciphering so much duplicitous political information daunted me into missing my deadline. I’d have to fill it out on voting day and drive to the ballot box to drop it off anyway. This campaign, I am finding it easy to start early. I’m finding it easy to learn a little bit about Bernie between nights of revelry and nights of Burning Man preparations.

Photo: Noa Azoulay http://www.featherlove.com

Photo: Noa Azoulay http://www.featherlove.com

I’m finding it easy to say yes to political events. The rally was enormous. I have been to the North Park Observatory before and never seen it so full. Luckily, my date beat me there and saved me a seat. My friends were everywhere. Aaron Truax started what he thought would be a bustling shindig for his friends, registered it on the official campaign website, and watched it overtake the original venue. His roommate stood behind a table, selling T-shirts. Our friend Maia Tagami introduced the livecast.

Photo: Noa Azoulay http://www.featherlove.com

Photo: Noa Azoulay http://www.featherlove.com

I am so used to overly-coached, well trained (& well paid) politicians that I wasn’t sure if Sanders speaks simply on purpose. His speech reminded me of an assignment I might have been tasked to write in my advanced Poli-Sci class in high school, senior year — an organized, straightforward, no-frills essay. It’s clear he has savvy, that he knows which talking points need to be made. He’s a smart man. But he’s a smart man who cares most about his ideals, cares more about them, I think, than winning.

I care about this too. I care about how his presence in the election will start change. I care about about other politicians adjusting their platforms due to his positive influence. I care about the possibility of his winning, which I really do think is real. Above all, I care about how participating in his campaign will make me a better person.

So yes, I played along with being a part of history by voting for Obama two seasons ago. Yes, I have always half-ass encouraged my friends to register and vote. This time, however, will be the first time I really get involved. Maybe it could be your first time too.

I’ll be at West Coast Tavern to watch the GOP debate with friends, join us!

http://www.redbubble.com/people/berniesanders16