Now, I enjoy my neighborhood, we have an ecclectic crowd to say the least. The pizza restaurant across the street is well known for being one of the few employers who welcomes employees who have facial tattoos and piercings. I expect there to be colorful characters here and I like being one of them. However, there are days...
This morning before having any sort of caffination I dashed over to the neighborhood drugstore to pick up a prescription. I was wearing my "bird action" shirt and trying to mind my own business. In front of me was a gentleman pushing sixty and wearing a black leather jacket with a huge lion head stiched on the back. He was having trouble hearing the pharmasist and you could tell that though he was nice, he was a sandwich shy of a picnic basket. I just kind of zoned out while waiting my turn. He turned around and below is our conversation:
Lion Jacket: What's "Hot All-Bird Action" supposed to mean?
Birdchick: I'm a bird watcher.
Lion Jacket: (whistles four note tune over and over) What bird's that?
Birdchick: Not sure, doesn't sound like a Minnesota bird.
Lion Jacket: It sure is, that's a chickadee.
As Non Birding Bill will point out (often at my expense) I have a low threshold for bird inaccuracy, but realizing where I was and not wanting to engage I decided to let it go and smiled and nodded my head. He must have detected my skepticism and continued with his strange whistling.
Lion Jacket: You see that's what a chickadee sounds like, you gotta really listen for those notes, you're not listening for them correctly.
Birdchick: Here's what a chickadee sounds like (and I did the two note call).
Lion Jacket: No, no that's not a chickadee and he continued his odd four note call. You see, you need to learn your birds better and really listen to those notes.
Birdchick: Uh-huh (heavy on the skepticism)
Lion Jacket: That's what a chickadee really sounds like to someone who really knows their birds.
Lion Jacket: They follow me around when I whistle, they know what I'm saying.
Lion Jacket: You just gotta take more time and learn your bird calls, (whistles more). That's what a chickadee is.
Birdchick: Here's a black-capped chickadee (whisteled the two note call), here' a Carolina chickadee which has a four note call, which you might have heard down south, but not here in Minnesota (whistled four note call). Here's a white-troated sparrow (whistled its call), here's an eastern screech owl (whisted its call). Do you really want to debate bird calls with me? I can do more.
At this point, the gent in the lion jacket and the pharmasist were looking at me speechless, mouthes agape as were a few other customers in the drug store. What the heck was I doing and how did I end up in a drug store whistling bird calls and trying to debate bird calls with this guy? All that Lion Jacket could say was, "That's not a chickadee" and went away. I wanted to clarify to the pharmacist that I wasn't crazy, I just hadn't had any coffee yet, but I think my audio display spoke way more than any protest I would make.
Alas, why couldn't I just let it go?