I've Seen the Fringe and It Visits My Local 7-11
Some days you don’t need to go looking for crazy. Sometimes crazy finds you right in your own neighborhood.
Take yesterday for example. I was out doing some errands and decided to stop for a coffee at a nearby convenience store. It was around noon, and the store was filled with people trying to grab a quick bite for lunch. No matter what time of day it is, you can always count on them having a steady supply of fresh hot coffee ready and waiting. I walked to the back of the store where they keep the coffee pots and pulled out a paper cup. As I turned back around toward the coffee pots, I see an old man coming around the other side of the area where they keep the cups, lids, stirrers, sugar packets, and creamers with a large green parrot on his shoulder. A parrot! In Pennsylvania! In 50 degree weather! I’m not kidding. I could not possibly make this stuff up.
The man was unshaven with wild hair and even wilder eyes. He walked slightly bent over as if he were trying to conceal something. I guess he didn’t consider that if you don’t want to attract attention to yourself, you should probably leave the parrot at home. His eyes darted back and forth as he scanned the people in the store for...what? Robbers? Law enforcement? People crazier than him?
He was wearing a red plaid flannel shirt with several stained and threadbare areas. I don’t recall what his pants looked like because I couldn’t get beyond the thick, brownish stripe of bird poop that ran down his shoulder. Now, I’ve owned birds and I know that they will poop on you if you don’t put something underneath them as they sit on your shoulder. I’ve even mistakenly forgotten to check in the mirror before going out only to discover in horror at the end of the day that I’d been out in public decorated in greenish rings of cockatiel poop. This man’s shirt did not have a little bit of bird poop on it. No. The poop on his shirt looked like it had been there for a very long time.
OK, so benefit-of-the-doubt time: Perhaps this guy’s not really bat-shit crazy. Maybe this is his official Bird Poop Shirt and he wears it whenever he’s holding the parrot. Maybe he realized that he accidentally left the house in his Bird Poop Shirt and is concerned that people will see him and judge him and that’s the reason for the shifty eyes. Heck, maybe he forgot that he even had the parrot on his shoulder when he left the house.
I was just about able to convince myself that yes, this was all a mistake. Kind of like what seems to happen to me with increasing frequency since I’ve turned 40 and leave the house with my slippers on. That must be it. He simply left the house with his parrot and his Bird Poop Shirt on.
I wasn’t prepared for what happened next. In fact, I’m pretty sure that no one could be prepared for what happened next. Mr. Parrot Man took a coffee creamer, peeled back the top of it, and held it up for his parrot to drink. Just like that. In 7-11. At lunchtime.
The parrot stuck his long, fingerlike tongue into the creamer cup and drank it up. Who knew that parrots enjoyed condiments? I could imagine it saying, What, no ketchup for dessert?
When the bird was finished drinking, Mr. Parrot Man and his bird shuffled to the front of the store and then out the door.
Yes indeed. Sometimes you find crazy when you least expect it.