Aidan Sings w/ the Bird Man & Gets Famous ~ BitterSweetLife

Monday, August 20, 2007

Aidan Sings w/ the Bird Man & Gets Famous

Today I was putting the finishing touches on some paid copywriting, but that won't keep me from telling you about the trip Aidan and I took to our local post office.

First, you should know that we walked there. It's only two blocks away and we believe in exercise. Or that's what Aidan said, anyway, as I put him on my shoulders and walked outside into the 95 degree heat. I guess what he really meant was that he believes in exercising me and I'm a big enough sucker to fall for it. But we got to the post office. On the way, Aidan pointed out some stoplights, birds, and a tricked out Mustang.

"Check out the tinted windows, spoiler, and sweet sun roof on that ride, Dad."
"Nice. I wish we had a sun roof right now."

We went inside. Inside the post office, about 30 people stood in line while two employees languidly counted out change and weighed packages as if they were a pantomime of Federal employees sunk in transparent molasses. The 30 of us just stood there sweating and staring at them, speechless. Really, words failed. One of the clerks smiled and joked with a customer as if there were not 29 of us still in line. Make that 37, because more people had just walked in.

I pointed to Aidan's shirt in an attempt to divert his attention from this failure of free enterprise, which was starting to get on his nerves.
"What's that?"
"A Jayhawk. Roooooock Chaaaaaalk..."

He started the rock chalk chant, which got the attention of the elderly couple behind us. As we had learned in the previous 45 minutes, they were Paul and Mabel and were renewing their passports although they had no specific plans to leave the country. They were planning ahead just in case--the only two people in America who had hit upon this brilliant plan, judging by the desperate, red-eyed crowds who are usually in the post office trying to renew their passports so they can leave for Cancun tomorrow. So we knew Paul and Mabel were smart. Still, we weren't prepared for what happened next.

"What's that on your shirt?" said Mabel. "Is that a bird?"
"A dirty bird," said Paul.
"A Jayhawk," Aidan corrected, not having learned yet that sometimes in life you meet people who, while they are victims of their geography and upbringing and you pity them, it is best to deal with them forcefully.

"Right, it's a bird," said Paul. And a second later, a bird started singing somewhere very, very close by. It twittered and chirped and whistled. It was amazing. It was Paul!

"Oh, COOL!" said Aidan. Literally, he said that. And then Aidan and Paul made bird sounds together for about five minutes. We have a canary, Cricket, who has a nice set of pipes, and Aidan likes to emulate him, but next to Paul, Aidan was an amateur. The 39 customers listened spellbound (one of us had been helped in the time this took to transpire, two people had gotten fed up and walked out, and four more had arrived) and made hushed comments:
"That's amazing." "Can you believe that?" 'Wow."

This was one of those rare moments you are just happy to be a part of. A moment when time stands still (or is it you who are standing still, in line?) and you know that you will never forget what has taken place.

When we finally reached the counter and mailed our two packages while picking up five more that the mailman was too lazy to deliver to us, we had made 39 new friends. Or 42 if you count the people who walked in during the performance. I left the building, holding Aidan in one arm and the packages in the other, and happy "Byes" fell around us like rain. We returned each one at varying levels of volume and modulation: "GOODbye, goodBYE! BYE! bye, GOODBYE!?" It was magical.

As we walked home, Aidan observed that it was very, very hot and tried hard to knock the packages off my arm. I was carrying them like a restaurant tray, palm up, stacked about a foot high, so it was hard for me to give him a nuggy, but with the help of my chin, I got it done. Just because he is already famous doesn't mean he can totally push me around.

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John said...

Aww, that is just too awesome. I love it when strangers surprise you like that.

Amanda said...

What a fun story! My two-year-old nephew just said "Go Huskers!" for the first time the other day - it's exciting when the little ones "take on" your favorite team. (yes, we are Nebraska fans in my family.) It's also good to know that the St. Louis isn't the only place where you wait in line for an hour at the post office! Thanks for sharing!

Jamie said...

A pantomime of Federal employees sunk in transparent molasses? lol. Love that line.

John B. said...

Birds weren't involved, but something similar happened a few years ago when my daughters and I stopped at Mulate's, a very good Cajun restaurant in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, for the first time. At the lunch and supper hours there, local Cajun bands play. That particular day, a busload of tourists from Australia had also stopped there, some of whom took up the band's invitation to dance. And so did my girls. They didn't know from two-stepping, of course, but the adult who isn't a sucker for children's joyful dancing has some emotional deficiencies it's better not to delve into here. The Australians were suckers. It was, as you say, magical.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife