I have been house sitting for a friend for the past five days, snowed in with no access to a computer. I am currently techno-twitchy from withdrawal. Fortunately, I am back home and once again tippy-tapping at my keyboard. It's a good thing, because I have a magical story to tell; a story of beloved friends and secret gifts, of plastic bags and repulsive chickens, beautiful furry cards and the well wishes of one of my favorite people.
As most of you know, I've been the sicko slob from hell since before last Christmas. Just can't shake this thing. Because I'd spent a decade of my past being severely ill, this current inability to be healthy again sent me into a full blown panic. All the old insecure thoughts came pouring into my brain with their chewy chewy teeth. Am I getting sick again? Is this it? Am I getting symptoms again after all this time? Am I going to go through that hell again? I can't take it anymore. I can't go through that again. I'd rather BE DEAD!!! AAAIIIEEEEE!!!! As you can tell, this insecurity addict had a full blown relapse into negative thoughts and pessimistic self-pity. I desperately needed something to distract me from all this doom and gloom, something dramatic and sudden, like a bird shit answer to a panicked prayer I had once. Something perfect. Something...disgusting.
Birds seem to weigh heavily in extreme moments of my life. There's the bird that suddenly decided to fly down and land on my head during weird animal week. That's when my ex-husband was still in grad school. There's the hawk that flew straight over my head, close enough to blow my hair back with its feathered updraft, the countless baby birds I rescued as a child, then again as a mother with my kids to help, the seagull that splat a great splat of poo directly over my face when I was hysterical and begging God for a sign, and the little sparrow that flew onto my head last summer as I was walking to work. Birds dig me. And today, I had another bird experience, only this time it was with the most repugnant rubber chicken I've ever encountered.
My friend Selena has always been the giver of the perfect gift. She has a knack for it. My favorite t-shirts have all been from Selena, from a gorgeous Elfquest print to a hilarious spin on ET, with Elliot riding his bike across the full moon with not ET in the basket, but Ridley Scott's Alien. Priceless. She spent an entire year searching for my favorite children's book, an out-of-print masterpiece called "The Emperor of the Ants." I have received perfect presents both beautiful and bizarre from this most beloved of friends, but this latest gift was a much needed reminder for me to lighten up. She knows I've been sick. She knows I've been really, really scared about it. So while I slept, she drove to my house and dangled a plastic bag containing a wiggly gross out chicken from my front door knob. I woke to find a beautiful, velvety card, a pretty box, and this nasty little bastard inside. He is disgusting: greasy yellow, squishy, vacuous expression, but the kicker is when you squeeze him. A rotten looking yolk and swirly goo comes out his ass while his legs get all stiff with outrage. No more perfect present, for weirdo me, could be possible. I laughed and shrieked and made disgusting noises like "EEWW!" and "Oh, gross!" but I kept squeezing. Something cracked inside me from all the guffawing; a hard familiar shell I have often grown around myself to shut me in and the world out. A black and lonely shell that only laughter and determination can break. So once again, thank you, my dear Selena, for finding and giving the perfect gift. I am now the proud and slightly repulsed owner of a sacred wiggly gross out chicken.
And I'm laughing again.