Tuesday, June 21, 2011

No good deed

Were I to tell my German teacher this tale, he would sigh and say, "You have a good heart." Then he'd tell a story of his own where something crummy came out of his trying to do something nice, and I would still feel lousy, but the tiniest bit better.

Last summer, Brad's mom bought us a very pretty "squirrel-proof" birdfeeder and a giant box of bird seed. It was much prettier than this, but you get the gist: 

We never found the time to put it up last year, and I was hesitant to do so this summer b/c, given that our backyard is like an aviary, I knew the bird seed would disappear in no time flat and we'd be buying more and more all the time. And, as I see it, we don't need one more expense.

Brad, however, really really wanted to put this feeder out and see the birds and let the cats (from the window) see the birds, so he said that he would pay for the replacement seed with money he had leftover from his birthday and Christmas. 

I was fine with that, and so he filled up the feeder and hung it in a low branch of the dogwood outside of the dining room window - the kitties sit on the saddle chair and look through the screen at all the things of nature that they want to eat. And for a few days it was going great: big birds, little birds, chipmunks, the ocassional lurking squirrel.

Then on Saturday we came home from the chiropractor and saw a little bird inside the feeder, flapping around like crazy. Panicky, we took it out of the tree, unscrewed the top, set it in the grass, turned it on its side, and the little guy flew off. 

I told Brad that had we not come home so quickly, that bird would have likely flipped out, beat itself off the walls endlessly, and really hurt itself or, worse, died. But he thought it wouldn't happen again or that, if it did, that what I said wouldn't actually happen. 

Fast forward to tonight. We go out, do some browsing and shopping, have dinner, more shopping, and then head home after being out for about 4.5 hours. As we're carrying our stuff into the house from the car, Brad somehow notices something in the birdfeeder - I don't know how, b/c I couldn't tell anything was amiss - and goes over. 

And there it is, a tiny little bird, barely longer than my index finger, laying in the birdfeeder, not moving. Needless to say, things went downhill from there. I pushed the feeder some; no movement. I asked the little bird to move; no movement. Then I freaked out, kind of cried, got a splitting headache. Telling Amanda and my mom only made my head hurt worse. 

The feeder is obviously not properly made (as Amanda pointed out), and it's definitely not made for little birds to go in it (as my mom pointed out). That said, I should have made Brad take it down after the first bird got stuck. I knew it could happen again and I predicted quite accurately what the consequences would be, but as soon as I went in the house that day I pretty much stopped thinking about it. Now I feel awful. I feel like I killed the bird, although Brad, Amanda, and my mom assure me it was not my fault. 

Brad put the bird and the feeder in a garbage bag. I thought about burying it, but, honestly, I'm not too keen on dead animal germs - whether for me or Brad - esp. when I'm trying to get pregnant. I feel just terrible for the poor little thing, and I'm furious with myself for not using good sense. I can't imagine how much the poor little thing suffered. 

So this takes me back to my German teacher, a lovely, lovely man who will eventually get a post of his own. Class is over, so I won't see him for at least a few weeks, which means I can't get a story that would make me feel less bad. But I know that he would tell me not to feel awful, and that we were only trying to be nice, to do a good deed, and then he would probably say, as he seems to like to say, "It's okay. You have a good heart. See?" Perhaps he's right, but still, I'm definitely punishing myself for this good deed.

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