Minding My Own Business

Minding My Own Business

By Chris Churchill

I wonder too much about other creatures on this planet. Like nostalgia turned sideways. And like the dense, heavy, yearning nostalgia that hits me when somebody else’s Christmas celebration reminds me of ones I’d shared with my family when I was young and things seemed magical, I often see others and wish I was one of them.

I watch birds fly and I wonder what that would be like. I see bees working together to get pollen and I wonder what that would be like. (By the way, I feel bad when I trap a fly in my car, because, you know, he’s never gonna find his way home.) I feel like I’d like to be a wolf or a bear. And, I also look at other groups of people, and I wonder what that would be like. That wondering about what it would be like to be them, often gives way to a jealousy about not being them. 

Me: What do you think it is, George?  George: Treat.  Me: You’re probably right, parrot.  George: George bird.  Me: Right. George bird.

Me: What do you think it is, George?

George: Treat.

Me: You’re probably right, parrot.

George: George bird.

Me: Right. George bird.

“What the hell is that all about?” cries my inner adolescent. And I’m sure I’m not the only human that has this game play out in their brain. I mean somebody wrote The Incredible Mr. Limpet for a reason, didn’t they? I’d love to do a version of that movie with birds. (Dibs!) We anthropomorphize animals more often than not, in the movies, don’t we? Why is that? Why can’t we just be content with animals being animals, others being others, people being people even if we are not a part of their culture? 

Part of it for me, is a kind of loneliness. I mean, I’m happily married and I love my pet birds, but I still get lonely. Usually, during those alienating moments of modern civilization. Those moments where I’ve consented to sitting in traffic or riding a train with my earbuds in next to a thousand others who do the same. I never feel this way when I’m with people. 

There’s also the insecurity, I guess. An inability to be happy with what you are. This human thing I’ve been doing for decades doesn’t suit me some days. At least that’s part of what it is for me. See Ratboy… if you want to see how I feel. It’d be great just to walk away from my car during a traffic jam and just come back later when all the other cars are gone. Or, hell, why not figure out where those geese hang out and see if they’ll take me in. 

Doesn’t this dude seem cool? I mean, kind of aloof, also real chill. You know, if you get past that downy facade. I’d totally be the coolest guy at the park if this guy was my friend.

Doesn’t this dude seem cool? I mean, kind of aloof, also real chill. You know, if you get past that downy facade. I’d totally be the coolest guy at the park if this guy was my friend.

For me, it’s like I’m experiencing nostalgia for something that never was. A longing for a simpler time. But a simpler time in our evolutionary history. Back when I was a monkey. Or maybe I went a different direction and became a bird. And birds don’t need any of this stuff that we humans made. 

(Did you guys ever hear about how I like birds?)

I used to do a bit when I was still doing stand up where I said that gravity made me mad, mostly because of traffic. There are cars in front, behind, to your left and to your right, but no one’s using this whole area up here. Birds don’t even have to think of that. Well, penguins do. But I envy them for the swimming and fishing. 

Stuck in traffic, I tried to talk to a sparrow.

Stuck in traffic, I tried to talk to a sparrow.

I sat in construction traffic on Lasalle near Lake Shore Drive, looking at a sparrow hopping around, inconspicuously, in the dirt and shrubbery that it evolved to blend into. But I could still see it.  I talked to it through my window. It didn’t care. Playing hard to get. (Maybe it’s seen how I fuck up some chicken wings. Maybe, it just suspects it on a subconscious level.) Anyway, the bite-sized cutie did not reciprocate my attempt at becoming buddies. 

I see people and, with the exception of being open to eating them, I feel the same way. Until they start talking. Then I turn my car radio up and watch a hawk circling above me. That seems like a cool job.

Lonely, though, huh?

Wall's Wall That Ends Wall

Wall's Wall That Ends Wall

I Believe... [“Fragile” is an Invitation for Abuse]

I Believe... [“Fragile” is an Invitation for Abuse]