My flock-partner has been behaving erratically this past week. I have finally been given the opportunity to air my concerns. Please read. Please help, if you can. I am extremely worried.
My suspicions were first stirred a week ago when she emerged from her bedroom uncharacteristically early. It was only a short while after sunrise. Then, instead of wandering around in her sleeping clothes until midday, she dressed, ate, flung some grapes and seed into my bowls, and left the house at a jog. She did not return home until the middle of the night. I considered biting her hand to show my displeasure with this behaviour, but she seemed so pleased to see me I decided to let it go, and enjoy her company until bedtime.
My tolerance has not been rewarded. She repeated this behaviour for the next two days. And the last two days she has got up at a more normal time for her, but then rushed out, not returning until late, just like before. I have noticed she is tired yet strangely exhilarated when she comes in each night. And I am certain that some nights this week she has been drinking –I could smell alcohol on her breath from my place on her shoulder. I have been wondering if she is seeing another parrot, but I haven’t found feathers on her clothes, nor can I detect in her the level of guilt I would expect from such goings on.
Please, can anyone tell me where my flock-partner is spending her days, and what undoubtedly fascinating activity has been taking her from my side? Do you know what she’s doing that she can’t do at home with me? And if she needs help, please tell me how I can help her, or help her yourselves!
Squawks of distress,
When I first talked to Muireann about EdJoWriWe, having just got the reference, I told her the acronym reminded me of Soviet officialese, in which names of departments and organisations are shortened from their impossibly lengthy titles by taking their initial syllables to form strangely endearing nickname-like acronyms. When asked for an example, the only one that came to mind was ‘GULag’ (from Glavnoe upravlenie lagerei i kolonii, ‘Main Administration of Labour Camps and Settlements’). I hastened to say that I was sure that EdJoWriWe would be nothing like a GULag (because it’s always awkward when you accidentally implicitly compare someone to Stalin). Muireann looked at me very seriously and said, ‘No, this is going to be boot camp, George. You’re going to have to toe the line.’
EdJoWriWe started off by reinforcing a valuable lesson: it is not wise to push deadlines too much. I failed to write my abstract in time to be considered for the course, and so only got a place when someone dropped out at the last minute.
The week’s first shock to my system was the early morning starts, after a week of barely crawling out of bed before midday. After three days of trying and failing to get in on time I decided to give up the attempt and ‘play to my strengths’ – i.e. arrive later in the morning and stay late to work.
Despite the boot camp principle – going cold turkey on (almost) all my old procrastinating ways; working to timers when that failed; the daily five-section-plans assessed in front of an audience of peers (yes, Comrade, my square foot of laptop has exceeded its daily crop quota of two million words!); labouring from the crack of dawn (I may be exaggerating here) until late at night – I have found the week enjoyable from start to finish. And not just enjoyable, but constructive and productive.
Drop-in advisor Dr Laura Bradley requires an honourable mention for helping me get my head sorted out when I realised I had utterly failed to narrow down the scope of my thesis chapter for my article, and was trying to include everything there was to say about the topic, yet again. And, of course, Muireann and Eystein, for staying late with me every night while I got on with the work I had been in no fit state to do in the morning; and for helping me with three rather nice bottles of wine (not all on one night, and not all by ourselves). But most of all – not wanting to stretch the dubious Russian Communist metaphor too far (but doing so anyway) – I have benefitted from the atmosphere of comradeship, of striving together to attain the radiant future. There’s nothing like being around other ostensibly hard-working people to make you get your head down and put fingers to laptop keys.
My only concern has been spending so much time away from my parrot, Rosie, but she hasn’t seemed too upset by my long absences during the week, and has enjoyed a weekend EdJoWriWe-ing!
To anybody still reading this,
The mystery is solved! To think I got my feathers ruffled over such a trivial matter. Today my flock-partner carried me to where she has, presumably, spent the past week. Various not-my-flock-partners came by to marvel at my beauty. Otherwise, it was an unremarkable sort of place. I really can’t see what has so entranced my flock-partner about it. All she really did all day was sit and prod her silver-black-glowing metal thing. But the main thing is, she did it with me, and not some other bird, and I am reassured that this aberrant behaviour poses her no danger.
Squawks of relief,