Sunday, August 07, 2005

Hummingbirds and annoying humans...

My girlfriend, or Grouchette as I'll refer to her here, has maintained a pair of hummingbird feeders outside our house for a couple years now. After returning home from a Chinese buffet dinner, she noticed the feeder in the back yard was empty and the one in front was under siege from ants. She attended to the feeders while I set up the lawn sprinkler in the front and watered the landscaping. We were fairly certain that at least one hummingbird was coming around here. There was one last year that we saw occasionally. Grouchette took care of the back yard first while I was watering.

To make a long story a little shorter, we ended up going back and forth a couple of times following one of the little birds. I finished taking care of something in the back yard and was rounding the garage. Grouchette was sitting there and a hummingbird zipped away.

"Did I scare him away?"
She nodded. "Sit down, it will be back."

I sat down on the porch next to her. My house is on a dead end street in a quiet neighborhood with naturalized land mostly surrounding us. It's usually pretty quiet with the occasional noisy outburst from the neighbors across the way. We talked quietly amongst ourselves waiting for the hummingbird to return and, sure enough, the distinctive hum returned.

One hummingbird was hovering around us and was soon joined by a second. The arrival of the second hummingbird caused the first to dart away. The second hummingbird hovered close to the feeder for a few moments before feeding. Then as a surprise both of us, actually perched to feed. The scene was quiet, and peaceful. The surprises didn't end there, after feeding the hummingbird took to the air and started becoming curious at us. It came to me first, humming about two inches from my head. That was a little freaky, not knowing what this buzzing thing was going to do to me (was it going to suck my brains out through my ear). It made it's way to Grouchette, back to feed some more, then back to me, then fed once more before disappearing off to the far trees.

It was dark and we were pretty sure tonight's viewing was over. Both of us agreed that was pretty cool. For me however, it made me think about instances earlier that day and during the work week and how they compare. How did we, as a race of human beings, get so rude?

Cell phones. These devices seem to give the user license to be rude and downright annoying. A guy at the buffet had his cell phone go off while he was eating. It started with one of the loudest most annoying "ring tones" ever, it took him about ten seconds to answer the damn thing, and that was followed by about a two minute Latino to Latino conversation that every table in the place could probably hear. A couple people at work have really loud and annoying "ring tones" on their cell phones. Nothing breaks the productive silence of a work environment like a sudden, loud, heart-attack inducing "ring tone" out of nowhere. For Christ's sake would it kill you to just keep the mostly pleasant tone that came with the damned phone instead of the noise-ordinance breaking customized crap you pay extra for?

I could go on and on, there is an endless supply of annoyance available. Highway driving. How about the idiots at the super market like the ones that block the aisle looking for mustard that's been at the same spot for half a century? Car stereos, and bling-bling noise add-ons. People with six separate orders in the drive-thru window. The boss/leadership council. Politics. Kids. Government processes. Dealing with cable Internet subscribers who hog all he bandwidth with inefficient file sharing. How about one of my favorites, which diet is best and why is all the delicious food death to your health?

It sure makes me appreciate the quiet time, whether it's in my basement working out or with my aquariums, or sitting on the front porch while a hummingbird nervously floats about about an inch from my forehead.

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