One day last April, I was getting dressed for work. I was combing my hair when I heard this strange sound, like paper rustling. I knew that I was the only one in the apartment, but I looked around anyway.
The washer and dryer for my apartment are in a closet in my bedroom. As I got closer to this closet, the rustling sound became more pronounced along with some squawking and wings flapping. Great, I thought. 'There's a bird in the closet that's gonna fly all around the apartment when I open these doors. How am I gonna get it out?'
Though I was scared, I opened the closet door. I thought about how quickly I could run to the front door and fan it out of the apartment. But the bird wasn't in the closet. It was in the dryer. It was walking around the air tube that runs from the back of the dryer to outside the apartment. I shook the dryer a few times thinking that it would leave once it heard me.
It did not.
Because of the closet's design, I couldn't reach behind the dryer to shake the air tube. I got a hanger and tapped the tube a few times. Nothing. The bird still walked around the tube, unfazed.
I had to go to work, so I left. I thought the bird would be gone when I got home. It was. Whew!
The next morning around 6 am, I woke up to the walking, squawking, and flapping. What! This thing was back! I was annoyed. I got the hanger and hit the air tube with more force. It still wouldn't leave. Since I couldn't go back to sleep, I got up and got ready for work with Tweety in the dryer.
Later, I called the apartment maintenance crew. They'd heard of birds in the air tube. They told me to turn on the dryer. The heat would make the bird leave. I was nervous because I didn't want to hurt it. Plus I didn't want burned bird body in the dryer. But I did as instructed. The bird still stayed - heat and all.
I called maintenance again to tell them that that didn't work. They said that they needed to put in a little bird blocking gate at the outside dryer flap that leads into the dryer tube. They would fix it as soon as they could.
A week or two later, that bird was still walking around, waking me up earlier than I would like. Uuuggghh! I swore my freshly dried clothes were starting to smell like dirt, and I had hit that tube more times than I can count at 6:30 am. I got the impression that now there was a nest in the tube, and no amount of dryer heat and tube tapping would make that bird leave. I called maintenance again.
They apologized and said that they had been really busy. I told them that I needed them to come and remove the nest and put up the bird gate. When I got home, I saw the maintenance slip stating that they had replaced the tube and put up the bird gate. The next morning at 6 am was the moment of truth.
It was a Saturday morning, and sure enough I heard the bird. I hopped out of bed in my too-short nightshirt and ran to the bedroom window. I could see the entrance flap for the dryer, and the bird was trying to lift it to get into the dryer. But the bird gate was blocking further entry.
Ha ha! I smiled as it tried over and over again to get past that gate. It would fly away, come back, and try again. I opened the window so that I could close the flap with my broom each time it flew away. I'm sure I showed my neighbors more than they needed to see.
When it came back, I noticed that it had little twigs in its mouth. And it tried again. I thought how stupid it must be for trying to get in where it's not wanted. I thought why doesn't it go away for good. Why does it keep trying?
Right at that moment, I had a thought. 'Haven't I done that? Haven't I offered my love (twigs) to exes who had put up their own (bird) gates? Didn't I try to build relationships (nests) in unavailable tubes?'
I realized that I was that bird. (If you know my real name, you know how ironic that is.) I tried to get in where I wasn't wanted. I offered love to those who didn't want it.
My once smug smile turned into a sad lip bite. The bird made a pitiful little caw sound and flew away. It tried over the next day or so to get in, but eventually gave up. Just like I did.
Don't get me wrong. I didn't give up like I was defeated. I gave up wanting unreciprocated relationships. I gave up offering the gift of my true love. Why? Because that stuff is for the birds.