June 27, 2012

Feeding the Birds


The deed is done.  I bought myself a bird feeder today.  And some frelling bird seed.  We’re cutting back on the live mealworms* which, even allowing generously for relative body weight, cost more than frelling organic cereal-free hellhound food.   But I have spent nearly sixty years resisting Feeding the Birds and have now finally succumbed to . . . two robin nests in about two months.**

          I bought my shiny new bird feeder on line so it’ll be a day or two arriving.  I went for something squirrel resistant, which, in this case, means that the tube of bird seed is surrounded at a little distance by a tempered steel cage whose holes are (theoretically) too small for anything but a robin or a tit or a sparrow or thereabouts to get through.  The thought of feeding the local population of rats with furry tails is one of the things that has stopped me getting caught in the feed-the-birds trap before this.

            I’m having a little seizure of anti-on-line shopping however and with a car that runs I might revert to doing a little more of it in three dimensions, even if this means I can’t do it at three o’clock in the morning.***  But I’m tired of web sites that were stuck together by rather stupid demons using wallpaper paste and the blood of people who tick NO to the free newsletter, updates, special offers and more fun things to clutter the hell up your inbox option.†  The bird feeder site says, YOU HAVE TO CREATE AN ACCOUNT!!!!!, if you want to, like, order anything . . . BUT YOU’LL REALLY LIKE HAVING AN ACCOUNT BECAUSE WE SEND YOU ALL THESE GREAT OFFERS!  How often do you buy a new bird feeder?  I thought I might at least order their FREE bird feeding guide but . . . you have to create an account.  Apparently you have to create another account, because I’ve already created one so I can buy the frelling feeder.  So I’m going to receive TWO copies of the fabulous newsletter and all the special offers??  I don’t think so.  Never mind the dazzling nuisance of filling out your name, address, phone number^^^, and your new secret doodah password^^^^ all over again.

            So I declined.  I can get my bird feeding regime from the http://www.rspb.org.uk/

            But the current pinnacle of on line shopping fury was reached a few nights ago when I was trying to buy . . . socks.  I want colourful cotton socks, not black, navy blue and beige creepy weird fabric socks, and this is apparently going a little far, at least for the British market.  There’s a big lower-limb underwear chain over here whose web site is a nightmare.  I keep not going there because after about ten minutes I’m losing the will to live.  They have videos.  Videos of SOCKS?  WHY?  And if you are scrolling wearily down the long series of Hello Kitty and Robert Pattison socks, because the awful truth is that lurking among the rest there are Colourful Cotton Socks, and you SEE WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR and click on the brand thumbnail, for every different colour you look at within that brand, you will have to come back through that individual screen again before you return to the home screen.  Let’s say there are two different greens, and you’ve clicked back and forth two or three times to compare—?  Yes.  And let me add to your burden of comprehension by further explaining that, probably because of the video option, EVERY PAGE TAKES SEVERAL SECONDS TO LOAD.

            I got out my knitting to avoid killing all the neighbours and laying waste generally to New Arcadia.

            I was on this frelling site nearly an hour.  And at the end, I had finally laid down my needles and was making my way through the checkout when . . . THE SITE TIMED ME OUT, THREW ME OFF, AND WIPED MY ORDER.‡

            Fortunately the pet shop here, which already orders cereal-free hellhound food for me, carries a liberal selection of bird food.  

* * *

* Unless there’s a third nest.  I suppose I should clear out the old ones.  There wasn’t a lot of free space in my greenhouse before the robins found two imaginary gaps to wedge two real nests into.  

** One of my Twitter followers said thank you for the photos,^ that most people don’t get to see this.  It’s funny how quickly something amazing becomes normal:  it doesn’t necessarily become less amazing—and I will be crushed if the local robins never build a nest in my greenhouse again^^:  don’t we have a tradition?^^^—but it still becomes established routine.  

^ Which reminds me, I have to finish the series.  Not tonight.  I’ve spent too much time ranting.  

^^ Although it would be nice to have the next nest where I can see it without the assistance of a camera-tipped gorilla-length arm. 

^^^ Including live mealworms 

*** Arguably the best feature about going to Bowdoin College thirty years ago was that the flagship Freeport 24-hour LL Bean is about a quarter of an hour away.  Back in my college days LL Bean was not yet . . . fashionable.    

† Which might explain the being gruesomely, headachingly tired so much of the time.  Here I thought it was the ME.   Hmm.  And I still get an awful lot of special offers. 

†† 00000000000.  Most web sites created by stupid demons don’t pick this up.  

††† I hate passwords.  I have unique ones for bank accounts and things, but for a site that sells bird feeders?  Give me a frelling break.  And then there’s the PROVE IT stage of paying on line.  PayPal, for example, is one of my unique passwords, so then I have to remember what the sodblaster it is . . . but one of my credit cards demands that you choose a Memorable Name of more than ten letters, and then every time you use the frelling card you get a screen that wants a specific, if random, three of the Name’s letters.  THE LETTERS HAVE WORN OFF TWO-THIRDS OF THE KEYS ON MY OLD LAPTOP.  I can type, because I’m not thinking about where individual letters are:  I’ve been typing on a QWERTY keyboard for fifty years [sic].  But tell me to pick out three specific letters from a lot of blotchy black keys?  Are you KIDDING? 

‡ It’s almost enough to make me rethink knitting socks.^ 

^ NOOOOOOOOOO.+  Cardigans!  I want to knit cardigans!  And jumpers!  And waistcoats!  And things that show that you’ve gone to all that knitting trouble!++  And that don’t get holes in them just because you wear them to walk in! 

+ I wrote this web site a little email, expressing would-be-customer dismay.  Four days went by.  Today I received your standard gloppy gormless infuriating robo-letter saying nothing at all at considerable length.  I felt my blood pressure rising again and answered it saying, this is gloppy, gormless and useless and proves that your customer relations is as rubbish as your web site.

            I got an answer!  And it was just as gloppy, gormless and useless! 

++ And made all these knitting mistakes.  Maybe not-showing has something to be said for it.



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