17 June 2023

Okay. Explanation ahead of time and you are not going to get the whole story but I’ll give you part of it. Just, that’s the way it is. There is all of one person amongst my friends who knows the whole story but she’s a therapist and used to keeping her mouth shut, plus the whole story aligns with her general ethics of being thrifty. She gets it. I don’t know about the rest of you bastards. You’re on permanent probation. So you only get this bit.

There is this tiger sanctuary up in southern Oregon, just over the state line, which I don’t live all that far from. Tiger Sanctuary gets donations of meat and fish from local grocery stores which are rotating their inventory. Tigers are very particular about what they can eat and still be healthy, but that means there’s still plenty left over and a lot of it is still frozen or well-refrigerated.

Neighbor is acquainted with them. I don’t know how, and I don’t know how they even got onto the subject, but how it fell out is Neighbor has a standing invitation to go up there every Monday evening and pick up whatever Tiger Sanctuary is throwing out. It’s not all fit for human consumption, and some of it only is if it’s not frozen again, but a lot of it is and the rest is earmarked for the dogs — and between Neighbor and L there are eight dogs to feed. But Neighbor needs help sorting it and that’s where I come in. I’ve been over there… three times now? Four? Hang on. [checks] Four times. Today was the fourth time.

It’s basically trading labor for meat. L has an in regardless because she can’t lift the heavy boxes and she and Neighbor are… whatever they are. Best friends or whatever. I still haven’t asked and I won’t; if they want to tell me, they will eventually. Given the general situation, I don’t want to come off as nosy. But this means I don’t need much in the way of groceries. I like to keep butter, eggs, half-and-half, coffee, sweetener, and cheese in stock and I get the cheap versions of all of those (so: store brand). The coffee is the most expensive item, and that not by much. The rest I get for spending a couple hours on a Monday evening divvying up different kinds of meat and fish into different boxes and then helping carry them into the house. Woo. I like it.

I should probably explain I’m carnivore at this point, or so close it doesn’t matter. My blood sugar is very happy compared to before I left Louisiana. I also am once again freed from my blood-sugar rollercoasters. I’ll take it. What I’m not spending on plant foods or fucking chips, or whatever, I can keep aside for when my pants finally fall off. They’re close to it now.

So. That’s the back story.

So I was on the way over there this evening, and I saw a robin cross the road far enough ahead of me that I mostly ID’d her by her shape and movements. She was on the ground to cross it and she stayed on the ground. I thought that rather odd but it’s nearly summer and I thought, hey, maybe there are interesting bugs on the ground. Robins go for that.

Then this other robin appeared on the side the first robin had crossed from, and pretty quickly I noticed the new one was a bit different. Not quite as big and didn’t look like he quite had a tail. I watched him move for a minute and then thought, Is that a fledgling? A couple seconds later he noticed me and started hopping up the side of the road ahead of me and panic-cheeping. A couple times he tried to take off but couldn’t get enough lift. Yep. Teenager robin. Freaking out over the giant featherless mutant birb. Poor baby.

Catching up with and passing him confirmed this because I looked at him as I walked past and saw the spotty breast. The American robin is a thrush, and most thrushes have spotted breasts, which you can still see in the robin fledglings before their bellies turn orangey-red. But I got past him and I saw Mom (or Dad) fly over to the fence behind him and I knew he’d be okay.

Got to Neighbor’s place and he wasn’t there yet. Mac, a friend of his, showed up before he did, but he finally got there and we got everything going. Stories were exchanged. I told him about the robins and he thought that was a neat story.

I got to walk his dogs again because they hadn’t been out in a few hours. They hadn’t even barked when I’d approached the house; I think they parse me as Friend now. When I petted Hercules and then stopped, he bonked my hand with his head to get me to do it again. “Excuse you? I’m not done.”

Second week in a row Neighbor drove me home. I might have demurred but I seem to have somehow rubbed a large blister on the bottom of my right foot, right over the ball of the foot where I have to feel it every time I take a step. I noticed he had an audiobook by Stephenie Meyer in the car, a book I’d never heard of, so we got onto that and he said one of the things he likes about her is a lack of gratuitous sex scenes. I think he’s mentioned being annoyed by those before and I’m not sure what that’s about — if it’s written down instead of photos or film footage, I don’t care, it’s mostly harmless. Or I feel like it is. But I did see his point. Most people who write sex scenes don’t write them well. “It’s like,” I said to him, “what on earth are these people [the authors] doing? Watching Skinemax and taking notes?”

But it’s not the first time he’s mentioned sex anything in my hearing. It’s probably nothing, and maybe he’s always like this no matter who’s listening. But it bears watching.

I will say that he never seems to come off creepy. (When he happens to mention sex, it’s almost like he’s talking about the weather.) In fact, and I don’t know if I said this here already, he so far seems to be one of the kindest men I’ve ever met. I’m really hoping that is a correct impression.

Also, mental note to look up Meyer’s books in Columbus Metro Library’s ebooks collection. Not now. Maybe after I’ve gotten through a few of Neighbor’s books. Which I am stalling on big time, and I need to quit doing that or I will lose track of what I’m reading. It’s not like it’s bad writing. Maybe I’m a little weirded out by seeing a favorite author in person so often. I don’t know.