When I was twelve years old, I got to move to the upstairs bedroom in my house. Expo ’86 had come to town and we had so many visitors from out of town, we needed my bedroom, which was actually the dining room, to be used as a dining room. The reason I was sleeping in the dining room in the first place was that my father was nervous with me sleeping upstairs when their bedroom was downstairs.
Living upstairs was glorious; I was farther away from my parents and the upstairs bedroom had a big closet and built in drawers, as well as a sloped ceiling and a window overlooking the rooftops of our neighbourhood.
Downstairs, as a child, my bedroom had been pink. The walls were pale pink, the curtains a slightly more rose-beige. It went with the chandelier and French doors. (It was, after all, a dining room at heart) Upstairs, as a teenager, I wanted my room painted black and white. My parents obliged to a point; it was painted as bright a white as we could tolerate and the door was painted black (and I hadn’t even heard of the Rolling Stones!). We ordered special small, black Venetian blinds for the window. My duvet cover and pillowcases were striped in black and white. The steel frame of my bedside table was painted black and the removable top of it was covered with black and white checkered shelf liner. That room had Drama. It was the perfect teenage cave.
I don’t remember much of what I did in my room. I lay on my bed a lot, I know, because I put posters on the ceiling. Puppy posters. And there was one poster of a male cyclist who had stripped to his tight shorts and was looking wearily / sultrily at the camera. I had photos of friends tacked up everywhere and stacks of cassette tapes. Toward the end of high school I did a lot of moping and lighting of candles and listening to Led Zeppelin and writing poetry, but for the first few teen years I think I just sat around. Did homework. Daydreamed. I didn’t talk on the phone because our house only had one phone and it was downstairs.
One thing I remember clearly is the crows.
Because my room was on the third floor of the house, my window was parallel to the telephone lines outside. Every morning at what seemed like insanely early o’clock (but what might have been a totally reasonable hour – who can say, I was a teenager) the telephone lines would crowd with crows and they would commence telling each other about their dreams, who they saw last night at the crow nightclub, what little Joey said when his mom took away his grub breakfast caw caw caw caw caw. They woke me up every day. It was horrible.
The tenants who were living in our basement suite at the time had given me guns. Two little plastic disk-shooting pistols. I don’t remember why but I remember being thrilled with them and having to convince my mom I should be able to play with them. I used to sit at my window, which was, unfortunately, screened, aiming my little plastic pistol at the crows, trying to scare them, making it go POP and CLICK and POP and CLICK and POP while the crows chattered on, completely oblivious to me.
I must have stopped noticing them at some point. The way I stopped hearing the roar of traffic outside our house by the highway, the way I have lived across the street from a fire station for a total of 7 years (two different locations) and I hardly ever wake up when the sirens blast, anymore. But still, crows? They are not my favourite bird.
For obvious reasons, the first time I saw this short, I laughed my pants off.