What Are You Feeding Those Sparrows?!

, , , , , | Related | February 27, 2021

During the health crisis, my mum’s gotten exceptionally bored as she’s had to shield, so she has picked up the hobby of bird watching by looking at the front garden from her chair in the living room. She’s been very successful in getting birds — almost exclusively sparrows — to flock as she’s been putting an inordinate amount of varied bird food, plus housing, out for them on the tree just outside that window. These are probably the most pampered — and fattest — wild sparrows in the UK.

As we’ve been hit by snow, Mum’s aggressive bird feeding policy has only upped, resulting in a LOT of fat little sparrows gathering. As of the week of this story, we’ve got about a hundred of the little hooligans fighting over the abundance of food and attacking every other non-sparrow that so much as glances at it.

I’ve made a cup of tea and, upon reentering the living room, I notice that all the little fat things have gone and that a lone sparrowhawk — without any prey — is perched on the tree with the food on. I slowly get my phone out to take a picture.

My mum is sat in the chair next to the window.

Mum: “What are you doing?”

Me: “Don’t move; there’s a sparrowhawk.”

Mum: “It’s just a large sparrow.”

Me: “Did you actually look?”

She looks directly at the MUCH LARGER THAN A SPARROW sparrowhawk.

Mum: “It’s just a sparrow… Where are the other sparrows?”

I’m struggling with my phone whilst trying not to spill my tea.

Me: “They’ve f***ed off cause a sparrowhawk tried and failed to nom them.”

Mum: “It’s not a sparrow—”

The sparrowhawk flies off.

Mum: “Oh, it was a sparrowhawk. I thought it was a sparrow.”

Me: “It’s like 100 times the size! Only the colouring is similar!”

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Your Cat Is Stitch?

, , , | Right | February 26, 2021

I work the front desk at a hotel, and I get this call.

Me: “Hello, this is [Hotel]. How may I help you?”

Lady: “Hi, I have my cat with me. Are you a pet-friendly hotel?”

Me: “We are a pet-free hotel.”

Lady: “But my cat is cute and fluffy!”

Me: *Face-palms*

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It’s Official; Cats Are The Cure For Everything

, , , , | Learning | February 25, 2021

I used to get what I called “I hate everything!” days. Let me explain that: I used to struggle with depression, a lot of unresolved anger and grief, and several other mental health issues. I started therapy when I was in my early twenties, and I am so much better now, but back when I was in university I would sometimes have days where I felt nothing but anger and resentment toward everyone and everything. If the toaster malfunctioned, I wanted to throw it against the wall. If someone walked too slowly in front of me, I wanted to punch their lights out. If my dad called, I wanted to cuss him out.

On such days, I only had negative things to say. It was an awful feeling, but thankfully, my enormous fear of hurting people kept me from acting on my impulses. Still, I didn’t trust myself on those days, so I would stay home, lock myself in my room, and not interact with anyone.

One day I couldn’t do that, and that was the day that changed everything. I had an English literature seminar that day, and since I was struggling with that class a bit and had already missed a class because I was sick, I knew I couldn’t afford to miss it. I told myself to just go and keep my head down and my mouth shut. This is what I kept repeating in my head as I walked to class, wanting to scream insults at every cyclist that didn’t obey traffic rules and to kick everyone who got in my way. “Eyes down, mouth shut. Eyes down, mouth shut.”

Unfortunately, my calculations hadn’t accounted for my teacher, a young, happy-go-lucky guy who was super enthusiastic about his subject, loved every book we had to read, and loved interacting with his students even more. Normally, I really enjoyed the discussions we had in that class, and I was usually one of the most involved students. I should’ve known he’d get suspicious if I kept quiet.

The book we had to read that day was Ernest Hemingway’s “The Old Man And The Sea.” I’m not a fan of Hemingway on a good day, and this was most definitely not a good day. So, of course, the first thing our teacher asked us is what we thought of the book. “Eyes down, mouth shut,” I kept repeating to myself, as the rest of the class started debating. And then, disaster struck.

The teacher smiled brightly and turned to me.

Teacher: “What about you, [My Name]? You’re unusually quiet today. What did you think of the book?”

Now I’m thinking, “Don’t hurt anyone, don’t hurt anyone!”

Me: “Didn’t really like it.”

It’s all I trust myself to say, but [Teacher] isn’t satisfied.

Teacher: “Really? That’s it? That’s all you have to say? Nothing on the struggle of man versus nature? The wonderful use of language? The fascinatingly ambiguous ending? The—”

Readers, I’m sorry to say that I snapped. I flew into a rant about how much I hated this book and its author. I think the least harsh words I used were, “pompous, grossly macho, and ridiculously over the top.” The rest I won’t repeat, but I get a good few minutes of belligerency going before I suddenly realize the entire class is looking at me like I’ve grown an extra head, and the teacher looks like a kicked puppy. I turn red, duck my head, and mumble an apology.

Feeling guilty but still angry at the world, I say:

Me: “Sorry, I hate everything today.”

Before the teacher can recover, one of my classmates, whom I have previously bonded with over a shared love of cats, jumps up, pulls out her phone, and shoves it under my nose.

Classmate: “There. Do you hate that?”

It’s a picture of her cat, a very fluffy white Persian, wearing a tiny Christmas hat and looking very grumpy about it. The balloon of anger inside of me deflates a little.

Me: “No, I guess I don’t hate that.”

Classmate: “Look at her! Look at how grumpy she is. She only agreed to the photo because I was holding a treat. You can’t hate that!”

I really can’t. Somehow, that picture of a grumpy cat in a Christmas hat pops my balloon of anger, and I just feel tired — a vast improvement.

Me: *A lot calmer* “No, I can’t hate that.”

The teacher seems to think it’s safe to talk to me again.

Teacher: “As much as I appreciate the rescue, I must ask if that’s relevant for class.”

Classmate: “No, sir, it’s a picture of my cat.” *Shows him* “But it worked, didn’t it?”

Teacher: “Okay, that’s adorable. But we really have to continue now. [My Name], do you need to leave for a moment?”

Me: “I’m good, sir. And I’m sorry. Thanks, [Classmate].”

We continued the seminar without further incident. Afterward, I wondered if [Classmate] had found the cure for my “I hate everything!” days and decided that next time, I would look at cat pictures BEFORE going out. I did, and what do you know? It worked! It didn’t miraculously make me happy, but at least it made the anger go away.

Thanks to therapy, I no longer have days like that, but I still look at cat pictures when I feel down. My therapist and I even made it a part of my treatment plan, because apparently, no matter how miserable or angry I feel, I can’t resist cats.

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The Fast Food Place Is Just A Bunny Hop Away

, , , | Right | February 24, 2021

I work at a restaurant that is pet-friendly. That usually means that during the summer people bring their dogs. I’ve even seen a few people bring cats. Near the end of my shift, a lady calls me over.

Customer: “Hello. I need to go stand in line over there for a little while. Would you mind watching my bunny?”

Me: “Sure.”

The bunny was in a carrier on a table. I have no idea why I would need to watch it because there is no way that it would even be able to go anywhere. I made sure to keep an eye on the rabbit, but ten minutes later, my shift was over and the lady was still in line.

I ended up staying a few extra minutes to watch the animal. But seriously, who decides to go get some fried food and thinks, “Hmm, you know, I’ll think I’ll bring my bunny. Yeah, that makes sense!”?

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Goose/Gander; Dog/Dad

, , , , | Related | February 22, 2021

Me: “The dogs thought they wanted my cup of xylitol. I was like, ‘No, this will literally kill you.’”

Dad: “Why were you eating xylitol?”

Me: “I use it for my tea.”

Dad: “Oookay… but why?”

Me: “My teeth don’t hate it. You know how with sugar, you can feel your teeth get angry? Xylitol doesn’t cause that.”

Dad: “Oh, okay.”

Me: “If you want to try it—”

Dad: “No, I read something about it being toxic to dogs, and I was like, well, if it’ll kill my dog, why do I want to eat it?”

Me: “Chocolate will also kill your dog. Should I stop buying you chocolate, then? Is that what you’re saying?”

Dad: “Wait, what? How dare you use my logic against me?!”

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