Saturday, February 02, 2008

Great Expectations - The Bird Lady

Like any great Dickensian novel this blog is semi-autobiographical (comparison to great literary figure in first sentence is a new record for my own self narcisism). Veiled allusions to real people and real events ensure that I still have friends when I walk down the Forested streets of the Village... the big gossip remains deep in my soul and I'm not spilling the good stuff, unless someone offers me a book deal, then I'll whore myself out like a cheap Amsterdam street worker.

I got yelled at last weekend by a good friend for placing too many expectations on people; bit if a best friend can't give you Dr Phil tough love then who can, right? So, in an effort to understand why I have such Great Expectations I found myself curled up on my couch late Friday night reading the Sparks Notes of Great Expectations (like I have time to read a Dickensian novel on a Friday night) and by reading, I mean Googling the Sparks Notes.

Miss Havisham, Chuck Dickens', great literary trope holds a heart to many a Friend of Dorothy (FOD). Why? She just may be the ultimate fag hag. Mascara - check. Scorned by a man - check. A little bit of the crazy - check. Don't you just wanna hang out at Satis House, eat chocolate, drink red wine and talk about how much men suck? I know I do. "And then this one time... that bastard Compeyson totally stood me up..." Tell it like it is Shammy. Sing it sister...

Today's query then: is this literary archetype - Wealthy Girls Gone Wild (holla holla to my boy Joe Francis) - a commonality round the Faux Hill? Well - in my limited experience it does ring true... more money, more problems.

While perusing the Real Estate section of the Globe on Friday, which I like to do for sadomasochistic reasons; its more effective then cutting my arm and less messy... I noticed that $1.8 million now buys you a three bedroom house at Lawrence and Avenue (the poor cousin of the Faux). How the fuck am I ever going to afford that? As friend KKK (not her real initials, but amusing nonetheless) once told me over coffee, "Why do think I'm applying to Law School? I may as well just be brutally honest with UofT admissions board: 'Dear UofT Law admissions - having been reaised in an upper middle class neighbourhood I'm pretty sure that if I don't become a Bay Street corporate lawyer I may not be able to ever afford to move back there.'" Thankfully we edited the truth to a more palatable "law school is an avenue to complete my career growth and continue to work for the betterment of Canadian society..." Who wants the truth anyway; falsities are so much more pleasant?

However, my weekly read of the Real Estate section let me know about a lovely RosedAle woman who had inherited her parents house and maintained her residence there until her death, save for a brief respite to Faux Hill. The house was built in 1912 and is basically in its original condition (on offer for the low low price of $6 million). Such a story couldn't help but make me think of the Faux... where we have our own Miss Havisham in the likes of the Bird Lady. The Bird Lady, an esoterically eccentric woman, lives down the street from the Two-Fer in a house that was originally owned by her parents.

Now instead of time having stopped at twenty of nine (the time Havisham learns of her fiance's deceit) the Bird Lady's house is stuck in a time capsule to the year her parents died. Think nineteen fifties Eisenhower chic. The Bird Lady's childhood bedroom has never been remodelled; its still decorated with pink wallpaper and filled with original Nancy Drew novels (which I used to borrow and read during grade school, prompting some kid to look at me and say: "only girls read Nancy Drew novels." Girls and fags read Nancy Drew... Why do you think Ned Nickerson never got near Nancy's pants - Ned was a closet 'Mo).

The Bird Lady HAS however maintained the family house in conjunction with her parents input long after their death. How? Well when deciding to repaint a couple of years ago - the Bird Lady hosted a seance where she asked the rents what shade of grey would work best with the exterior stucco. Good to know that you get the Benjamin Moore Colour Wheel in heaven eh? I hope there's internet porn up there too.

So why is the Bird Lady called the Bird Lady? Well... the Bird Lady has turned an entire room of her house into an aviary. Approximately twenty budgies have free reign of the front room because - the Bird Lady doesn't believe in cages [to quote Bold: Isn't the room just a giant cage anyway? Sing is sister. Update from Bold: she's in Mexico, Feliz Something]. I once had the opportunity to care for the Bird Lady's animals. Instructions were scrawled on a piece of paper: "Miss Josephina Pussy Willow Cohen [the cat] - likes her food strewn about the house. Don't use a dish - just throw a handful of food wherever you want. She'll find it." Crazy thine name is...

There is something quite charming in these eccentricities. The Bird Lady is a complete and utter rebellion from the manicured lifestyle of your typical Villager. There ain't no Uggs to be found in her front hall, par example and in fact her front lawn is so overgrown that Canada Post threatened to stop delivering her mail. During the great blackout of 2004 the Bird Lady was the only house on the block that actually had power (thanks to her solar powered roof). Who was laughing then?

Not sure of the moral for today's story, expectations lead to hurt, while living without expectations lead to being a crazy bird lady? I'm sure the answer is some shade of grey (preferably picked out by your dead parents) but in the meantime - perhaps this will be a choose your own ending _________________________________.

Happy February.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

love the bird lady! does moving out mean that you will never again have the opportunity to feed the birds/cat again and sneak me in to the bird ladies lair?