Thursday, May 30, 2013

In Which Your Correspondent Had a Miles Davis Moment

A construction worker was squinting at points near the rooftop of our tri-level rowhome buildings and seemed quite concerned. He noticed me noticing him, the result being one of those inconclusive postmodern moments of who is watching whom and whose observation has priority and who is suppose to look away first and pretend he wasn't looking. 

He averted his eyes from mine, as though he’d been caught dogging it. Naturally, I averted my glance from his so I wouldn't look like I was being nosy, which, of course, I was. After a few seconds of our Kabuki eye dancing, I waved. He smiled and explained that he was working on a bird infestation problem. 

I knew we’d had a starling invasion that was worse than those in previous years and that our property manager had taken action. But it struck me as curious that this young man wearing a T-shirt bearing the logo of a large, commercial company, who was remediating construction defects at the adjacent complex, would be remediating birds. 

He looked at me looking at his logo and he looked at his logo, too. He told me about the birds. He told me about every crack and fissure that the little buggers wriggled into and set up shop. He told me how our building had the trim butting the wrong way while the other buildings had done it differently and they didn’t have any starlings and anyway he didn't have a ladder tall enough but he’d finally found one and had clambered up on the roof and had to hang way over to actually see anything and didn't at first but finally did, hung over and peeked inside a crack and saw a nest of baby starlings. “No way I’m gonna kill a bunch of baby birds,” he said. “No way.” 

He said maybe someone who hunted birds could do it but not him and anyway he wasn't particularly thrilled about having to be the guy who looked for birds, he worked construction and liked it, it was a good job but anyways he figured he had to do just about anything, any job they gave him, there were people with four, six, ten years with the company and they were getting laid off, people getting laid off all over the place and he only had three years with the company and he didn't know what would happen tomorrow. 

But he wasn't going to kill any baby starlings. 

Miles Davis said that everything he liked best in the world was happening all around him all the time. Yes. Made my damned day.

Note: I originally wrote this in 2009. I'm reprinting it because I liked it.

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