Hi! It's R. Eric Thomas. From the internet?
This week: Trump v. reality.
Sundays, I’ve discovered, are when the crows descend on my house. Perhaps this sounds foreboding. That’s because it is foreboding. Sunday morning crows show up bright and early like they’re reporting for a shift on the Usher Board and I don’t know why. I have long decided that what animals do is none of my business. You’re not going to catch me out here communing with the natural world like I’m Temple Grandin. I have nothing against animals at all. Quite the opposite. It seems clear they have a whole thing going on and I’m not trying to intrude with my human nonsense. Animals, I always say, are having an A and bee conversation. I’ll see myself out. Me and animals are work friends. Which is why it’s so odd that the crows show up on weekends. A couple issues with this: crows don’t know it’s Sunday because, famously, animals have been resistant to adopting the Julian calendar. This, of course, is due to the longstanding feud between giraffes and Julius Caesar. Every animal took the giraffe’s side and then when Caesar was like “I’ve invented days of the week!” animals were like “You thought!” Anyway, I don’t know how animals keep track of the passage of time and, once again, it’s none of my business. Frankly, I would be interested in finding out if an animal were to feel so inclined as to let me in on the system. From my casual observation of the very busy squirrels in our yard it does not seem like animals get the Sunday Scaries so that, in and of itself, is a point in favor of the animal style of date-keeping. Sorry, Julius.
In any case, somehow a bunch of crows always figure out that it’s Sunday and apparently on their caw-lmanac it says that they’re supposed to report to my roof and start pecking. Again, none of my business but it does present a bit of a noise issue. A few weeks ago I woke up to the sound of what I thought was someone incessantly hammering inside the house on a Sunday morning. I searched everywhere and couldn’t find anyone, which is a relief because Sundays are kind of busy around here and I didn’t have time to fight Bob the Builder to the death. It didn’t occur to me that the hammering was some sort of ghost contractor because my house is not haunted and I’ve decided that Not Haunted is a permanent state. I have no evidence for this but for my own sanity it must be true. I walked outside the house to see if I could figure out where the noise was coming from and that’s when I saw them, on the roof, looking down at me like “How about you mind your business?” I apologized and went back into the house while the crows went back to pecking at the roof. I guess because their beaks are so large and strong, the pecking sounds like a deranged hammering inside. And this happens every Sunday.
As far as alarm clocks go, it’s not my favorite. But it doesn’t last long and there are worse things crows could do, so I count myself lucky actually. If I were Edgar Allen Poe, I’d interpret the crows’ visits as a message from Lenore, but the former coworker I had named Lenore never spoke to me in person and didn’t really seem to care for me so I’m not sure she’s decided to strike up a bird conversation all these years later. That said, if I did want to reach out to an old work nemesis I would probably summon the animals to do my bidding for the shock value of it. Can you imagine a hermit crab knocking on your front door and handing you a note from an old coworker that reads “You played your radio too loud”? Harrowing! So, that’s an idea for the future, I guess.
If I were slightly more evangelical I might interpret the crows knocking on the roof as a message from Jesus himself. “The Lord is speaking to us through the crows!” I’d cry as I leapt out of bed. “Will you answer?!” Famously, Elijah got a message from a raven, so this isn’t too off-base a theory. Maybe the crows are confused about whether Elijah lives here because there’s an empty chair for him. Ah, what a mix-up!
Years ago, in my second Philly apartment, this pigeon couple took up residence on my window air conditioning unit like a couple of Airbnb guest who start claiming squatters rights. I really should have nipped it in the bud early because they ended up building a very elaborate nest on the unit and raising a family. They legit put an extension on the house and installed their own cable. Really presumptuous. I ended having to through the whole unit away. It was so gross.
The worst part, though, was that they would walk around on top of the unit all day long and it made a sound like they were tap dancing. But not impressive tap dancing, no shade to those pigeons, but like they were learning the steps on the first day of rehearsal for Anything Goes.
It was a sound like tik-ah, tik-ah, tik-ah, tik-ah outside my window, constantly. Never improving, never speeding it up, never getting to the chorus. This was mostly frustrating for me because I really love Anything Goes and I would have loved to have a production of it close to him. Alas they never got out of rehearsals and then when they had little babies, they’d tap dance around them while the babies failed to learn the words to “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” and then they all left suddenly like the production lost funding. So, all I had was a ruined AC unit with a two-car garage made of pigeon feathers and twigs and completely useless season tickets to the Avian Arts Society. It was all very frustrating. But, I have to admit, I miss theater so much, I’d even pay to see the underrehearsed pigeons do a little soft show right about now. Maybe I’ll go outside and see how the crows feel about choreo.
Look, I sympathize with Trump being in a sort-of-glum place. I'm the events manager at Three Seasons Partial Landscaping and got a real earful from my boss this morning about why we didn't get the big gig. So, we're all having a rough week. But Trump has got to learn to accept the things he cannot change, like "the will of the people" and "math." There will be a lot of articles and tweets coming out about how Trump is coping and which members of the administration are trying to reboot their brands by leaking stories about trying to coax him into concession. Fortunately, you can skip all of those because I have gotten the scoop on all the ways Donald Trump is coping with "feeling weirdsies" about losing the election to President-elect Joe Biden.
Here for It made it to the semifinals in the GoodReads Choice awards, the book awards chosen by the people! There’s one more day to vote for it to move on to the finals in the Non-Fiction category and I’d love it so much if you would go over and give it a push! There’s a lot of competition, but I believe in elections and the crows told me they’re rooting for me.
Random Thing on the Internet
I have been staying away from COVID-related podcasts because I see and read enough about it everywhere else, but I’m a huge fan of It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders (who isn’t?!) and I really, really enjoyed his interview with Ed Yong of The Atlantic about Biden’s plan. It was reassuring and cathartic and surprisingly funny. The second half of the episode was an interview with comedian Matt Rogers and it is screamingly funny. A great episode all around. You can find the episode here.