Background: Andy and I adore our landlord/super. We lucked out in scoring a nice one bedroom apartment right as we got back from Spain. It only has one closet and doesn’t allow animals so we’ve been looking for something with more storage where we could get a cat. After beginning the book Wesley the Owl, I turned to Andy with wide eyes and exclaimed, “Let’s get a cockatiel!” He grew up with them and loved having them and I was caught up in the moment of reading a lovely story about a woman and her owl. We called our landlord Helen and she hesitantly agreed it could work, but asked us to talk with our next door neighbor before considering the bird. The following is a true story taking place on June 5th at approximately 12pm.
Me: Knock knock.
Crazy Neighbor (CN): WHO IS IT?
Me: Your next door neighbors.
CN: Yanks door open and looks at Andy and I. Yeeessss?
Me: Hi. We wanted to ask you about getting a cockatiel because we’ve been thinking a bit about it and we like this apartment but would like to get a pet.
CN: Well if it makes noise then it won’t work for me.
Me: Yeah. That’s kind of what I thou . . .
CN: How much are those things anyways?
Andy: Well, they can be about $100 to $150.
Me: Hand fed . .
CN: WHAT? Why would you spend that much money on a bird that shits??
Me: Head tilt, eyes and forehead crinkle in confusion.
CN: Well when I was in Gabon there were all sorts of parrots and they would squawk all the time but I was in Gabon so it was different. Do they make a lot of noise?
Andy: Well, different birds are different . . .
CN: You know peacocks right? Well they are really loud and one time I got so annoyed I shot it.
Andy and I: Oh, uh . . .
CN: Well don’t tell anyone. But I don’t think the landlord Helen would approve. I’m sure she would have a heart attack. She is sooo old. (*The CN looks to be about 10-15 years younger than Helen who is probably in her 60s) And you know the super who comes around here?
Andy and I: Yeah, he’s gre . . .
CN: He’s completely useless. Can’t do anything. Don’t you hear that noise?
Me: Me, listening to a rumbling from the basement. Yeah, it’s really annoying and it seems like it’s a heater or something.
CN: I’m going to call Helen the next time it comes on. How much are those cockatiels again?
Andy: They can be $100.
*Bubbling noise in the background. CN runs into her kitchen and then tells us her lunch boiled over. Runs back.
CN: $100!! Think of how much beer and chocolate you could buy with that money! Why would you want a bird that shits?
CN: Well just get the bird and see how it goes. If it’s loud, then I’ll just call Helen and complain. And you’ll have to get rid of it.
CN: But I say get the bird.
Me: Alright! We’ve gotta get going! Thanks so much.
CN: You know I really like Lady Gaga so you can invite me over when you are having your parties and playing it.
Me: Cringe. Ok.
The Next Day
CN: Knock knock.
CN: Hear that noise this morning?
Andy: Yeah, I heard it.
CN: I called Helen and she’s coming over right now.
Andy: I don’t hear it anymore though.
CN: Your apartment is so nice. So much nicer than mine.
Andy: Trying to block the door. Yeah, we like it. Bye!
CN: I like your fireplace.
Andy and I began the hunt for a new apartment moments after the conclusion of our initial conversation with the CN. I am terrified we’ve opened the floodgates to her insanity. We looked at a condo later that day. Despite the fact it was too small and a little too expensive, it was so very tempting. More updates on this sure to come later. We have decided against getting a bird.