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  • Writer's pictureStephen Campbell

Sparrows Don't Eat-i Ziti

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

It took a pandemic to hear birds chirping.

The only time I had taken note of chirps was when a night at the club broke into morning.

The chirp - a reminder that I told everyone I was going to be - “low-key because I have a work thing in the morning,”

Now I’m giving a piggyback ride to a stranger who’s lost his shoes somewhere. He’s telling me about his second wedding, but then it’s interrupted - by the song of the sparrow...

That’s when I look back at my passenger, and with a nod / exasperated breath -

We non-verbally agree that we may both be pieces of shit for staying out this late on a Tuesday.

I had seen the little dude around before - the sparrow.

He was a little trash-mouse-bird before - just picking apart half-eaten sandwiches

Now that I’m paying attention, it’s not that bad of a gig. He flies wherever he wants!

That little trash-mouse-bird.

I’ve taken up bird watching during the pandemic. I sit up on my roof and I bird watch. Well, I don’t have binoculars and my eyes are kind of shitty.

So I don’t bird watch.

I bird listen.

Bird listening is kind of dope! I’m getting all sorts of insight into the social structure of birds. They’re mad racist. I only hear single-type bird chirp conversations.

The same type of birds stay chirping at each other from afar. I compare that to my existing data sample of never having seen sparrows or pigeons, kicking it on the ground EVER!

I have come to the conclusion that pigeons and sparrows don’t associate with one another.

Unless there’s food. Food is the unifier. Pigeons and sparrows will get together if you put a bunch of food in front of them.

They eat it differently...

Sparrows swoop in and wrestle with the food, Pigeons hit with the classic “chicken neck” peck technique. But everyone seems to be enjoying themselves all the same.

Sitting in quarantine - I miss making food for people. I miss bringing everyone together.

But I realized that if I can’t cook for people. I can still cook for birds...

Everyone should find a way to support who they can through this pandemic.

I wanted to put the birds on my back. So I baked a bunch of ziti. To bring the birds together - to unify them through food.

I flung spoon-fulls of ziti around the rooftop. Which, while I write that out, I can understand why the neighbors got mad.

Also, to my surprise, birds don’t like baked ziti.

Rats do.

Also, rats can get on roofs. Which I guess I knew intuitively, but like, ALL of them can.

So now we have rats, and my neighbors have sent a petition around to get me evicted.

That upset me at first, but then I realized I had the power to bring people together with my cooking all along. Food is the great unifier.

I just needed to fling it around our shared property. And flinging it around shared property will always bring people together - In love or hate. Neighbors don’t like when you fling it around a shared space.

Through this pandemic I have been acutely aware of simple things. The birds chirping

The unifying property of food.

I can’t wait to cook for people again - To bring them around the table. Maybe one day, when this all blows over, my neighbors will forgive me, and let me cook for them.

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