Cross Species English 

A bird bit me this morning. Specifically, a cockatiel. And while I thought it would be a nice surprise for the bird to join me in a warm shower, the bird decided it would be a nice surprise to bite the ever-loving fire out of my index finger.

It was one of those cross species misunderstandings that often occur because none of the animals I know can speak English. Heck, none of them even understand English all that well. The dog does much better than the rest, but he has no motivation to improve his meager comprehension unless there is a treat involved somehow. The dog's first and best language is the language of food.

But, if I could intelligently converse with the bird, I would have said something like: "Hey bird, let's go for a shower. I know how you really like playing with the mist and water. And to be totally honest, you seem a little bored of the fabulous vistas of the living room. A visual change of pace might really refresh you." The bird might then be able respond with something like, "Wow that sounds awesome! Let's go!" Or even say, "Gee, I'm not feeling up to that today; I'm stuffed from eating that delicious millet you gave me earlier!" Instead, ignorant of the bird's mood, and faced with the bird's obvious ignorance of my good intentions, I blithely stuck my hand in the cage only to have an ornery bird open up a can of proverbial whoop-@!& on my finger mere seconds later.

Cross-species English could have also helped with the above picture of Busby the cat. I would have been able to ask him to keep his pose for a minute longer so I could properly get his face in focus. As it is, the fence at his feet is in better focus than his face. You may not be able to see the difference in focus all that well with the above small picture, but you can really tell when the picture is at its full size. One of the basic skills of photography seems to be bringing to mind all of the variables and making the corresponding adjustments as quickly as possible before you lose "the shot." I have several more pictures of this cat on that same fence, but they are all terrible. The funny thing to consider though is that in the scant few seconds just before those shots were taken were really great "potential" pictures that are now irretrievably lost to the Fates.

On a personal front, I am still dealing with a lot of anxiety. I make several fantastic plans about what I am going to do in day. I even get dressed up and ready to go, but when it comes to actually getting in the car and driving off in order to put those plans into action, I run into an internal brick wall and sit in my room to stare at the wall instead. I tell myself: "O.K. I'll give myself just another moment, and then I'm off to run my errands or accomplish some meaningful work," but each moment slides by without much of anything happening. I don't want my school to suffer because I am having trouble getting out of the house, and I don't think it will this term, but it's going to be tough. Unless you've been there anxiety-wise, it is hard to understand. Sunday, I am going into work and so, in a sense, I will be forced to get out of the house. But the deadlines for some pretty important school projects are looming, and I am getting more anxious and nervous about finishing them on time. This next week will be crucial.

It seems like in this last year or two, I'm constantly discovering some new facet of feeling, some new emotional scar, that affects me more than I ever would have thought it could. I think I am healing them all and am becoming a better, healthy person for the future, but then again, I wonder if I am making progress or just wishing that I am. If you gain spiritual virtues through suffering, I suppose I am making some spiritual progress despite my seemingly outward failures. Sometimes though, it can be hard to tell.

03 November 2007
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