Clearly, I Have a Cockatoo

Clearly, I Have a Cockatoo

I feel like such a rebel. Or such a creative.

Or so free. Or so onery.

Maybe I’m in trouble and should cower.

I don’t know.

I’ll let you tell me how to feel, and I’ll feel it. Because, as I write this, I may or may not be buzzed from varying concentrations of various cold medications to remain upright with this blasted sinus infection, but I digress (as I take another swig of my caffeinated carbonation).

While in Vegas for our mother/son trip, Adultish-Male Child and I may or may not have committed a couple of…crime-ish, lesser offense-ish, and/or possible felony-ish acts.

But not intentionally.

I mean, maybe it was intentionally-ish. Or intentional-adjacent.

I’ll let you decide.

Or, given my state of night terrors, recovering CIRCUS grand master status and/or a few too few Couch Lady Sessions, perhaps I hallucinated it all.

But I’m also a writer. I’m prone to make stuff up. Mystery, more or less. Twisted-up stuff.

So, perhaps, I’m concocting all of this for sheer entertainment value and none of it was real, let alone a hallucination. No need to call the authorities.

I’ll let you decide.  

And, full disclosure, Adultish-Male Child was recovering from pneumonia and aware of every breath. Meanwhile, I was aware of every step I took, careful not to undo the miracle steroid magic that Orthopedic Gal stabbed into my knee joint the week before. So… our bodies weren’t completely online. Brains, either, after flying behind the Hungover Pickle Lady from Chicago Midway, but that’s material for another blog.

Our first full day in the desert, we drove that blasted smart-ish car out to Hoover Dam. The whole Dam story is also material for another blog, so stay tuned, especially regarding Overzealous Dam Woman.

What you need to know about this bit is that the Hoover Dam is a Federally-run site. Like government and stuff.

Like security and search your bag, please, sir and ma’am, kind of seriousness when you first get there.

One of us, who will remain anonymous, may or may not have had an unopened bottle of Blue Gatorade down in one of our bags. “You can only consume plain water on the property. You don’t have to toss it, but don’t open it.”

Given the aforementioned health status, one or the other of us may or may not have guzzled an entire bottle of dangerous Blue Gatorade in some random bathroom stall on federal property after the Dam Security Personnel told us not to do so.

Also destroyed the evidence.

That’s one.

I take full responsibility for possibly driving the wrong way in some random parking garage because I couldn’t find the exit. Therefore, we may or may not have stolen twenty minutes of parking at an undisclosed resort.

This was after maybe or maybe not driving the wrong way down a one-way alley and U-turning where there wasn’t enough room to U-turn.

That’s two, three, and four.

We visited The Writer’s Block and may or may not have paid for parking (but as I browse their site, I see there was free parking available, so this makes me feel a little better about what we may or may not have done at this location).

That’s five.

And this might be my worst offense: I went into an independent bookstore and bought zero books.

Because… Pens! And Notebooks! And, as it turns out, Birds! (I may need to drop the -ish off the Adult-ish adjective from Male Child. He browsed—and purchased—intellectual self-improvement titles while I played with birds. I’m an unhinged child.)

After much consternation and being told, “No, you can’t buy that clock; that’s our clock,” and, “No, you can’t buy that amazing bird-shaped pen with its own perch,” I realized they adopt out birds.

With bios!

I lean on the counter and inform The Writer’s Block Guy #1, “I’m about to be high maintenance.”

Because I wanted—no, strike that. I absolutely NEEDED to adopt that cockatoo. The pink one named Zeppo. And, of course, Zeppo was perched way too high for me to safely untangle from the perch above the bookshelf.  

And I wanted/needed a T-shirt, which had to be retrieved from Elsewhere, but I didn’t know my size.  

“Grab this lady a cockatoo, Nicolas, and I’ll get her shirt.” (My apologies if The Writer’s Block Guy #2’s name isn’t Nicolas, or if I’ve spelled it incorrectly… I think that’s what he said… but I was—unhinged, you see, with knee-shot steroids coursing through my system, and I’m not sure.)

“But not just any cockatoo. I need a very specific bird…” I talk too much as I trail Nicolas, a tall, kind human, worried that he won’t take me seriously and try to pass off some other bird.

He didn’t. Nicolas was very accommodating.

Zeppo came with an autobirdography. I don’t know who wrote it; you can read it in the photo and discover why this guy was meant to be mine… But wouldn’t that be a cool job? Come up with backstories for adoptable artificial birds all day long? Or even for part of one day? I was in heaven.

Then… then… as I was checking out, Guy #1 asked if I’d like to recite the adoption pledge. Seriously? Of course. “I thought you might,” Guy #1 said with all the sweetness in the world as he bagged my shirt. I think he got a kick out of my unhingedness.

I raised both hands and recited the adoption promise that hung over the top of the register. Adult-ish Male Child stood beside me with his intellectual self-improvement title, smiling. Likely making a mental note of how difficult I’m going to make life for him when dementia fully kicks in. Or if my Couch Lady retires.

(Proofreader Gal later said, “Of course, there’s a recitation—that’s how the birds get their souls.” Yessss. That’s right! Silly me. I should’ve known. More on Zeppo’s adoption later—and he loved the UFO art and wanted to perch right there...)

I go back to Vegas in July for a writing thing. I’ll make time to Uber over to The Writer’s Block. I so plan to walk through the door and declare loudly, “I’m gonna need a penguin, a peacock, and very specific cockatoo.” I hope Guy #1 and Guy #2 are working that day. I like those boys.

I’m sure to be high maintenance again, though, needing to recite the adoption pledge three times, and shirt options in three sizes from Elsewhere.

The red beads in the picture with Zeppo may or may not have been given to me by a chilly Chippendale on Freemont Street right before hurricane-force winds and hail sent everyone ducking for cover into the nearest casino—where what we did there will remain in Vegas.

Quite literally. The machine took our money.

Those red beads hang next to a hand-made bookmark that may or may not have been crafted between Dallas and Cincinnati by our seatmate, the Knitting Nun.

She whipped out long, hooked needles during some of the worst turbulence I’ve experienced on a plane and then gifted the bookmark to me with a smile. Or perhaps it’s crocheted, but Knitting Nun is her name now. (Side note: I’ve had to toss ChapStick and nail clippers at TSA screenings, but the nun gets to bring those needles and enough yarn to hang us all? What gives?)

So, did it happen? Did I make it up? Have I hallucinated or been arrested? Or ticketed?

I can neither confirm nor deny the crime-ish things, but something happened. I have beads from a stripper and a nun’s bookmark to prove it.

And, clearly, I have a cockatoo.

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