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My Feathered Colleague

by Patricia Krzystek 8 months ago in bird
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Tango and Me

Working from home for the last 18 months has been interesting to say the least. I started working from home regularly in March 2020, when COVID-19 made its appearance in Calgary, AB. It was a scary time. My 11-year-old daughter at the time didn’t leave the house for an entire 6 weeks. We lived in a 3-bedroom apartment at that time, and no kidding, she didn’t even go outside on the balcony because she was so scared to get sick.

Life changed drastically and quickly for me and my children. Grocery shopping during those first few months was an adventure. It took me 2 hours in the grocery store. Trying to keep my distance from everyone there. Waiting patiently in line to get milk or bread and then waiting again patiently in line to pay for my groceries. Then getting home and washing each item, whether it was boxed or bagged, with Lysol and paper towels.

My son was working at Safeway, and each time he went to work I would ask him if there was toilet paper, and if there was, he would snag a pack of it.

Crazy times.

Some things changed in the year and half since then. There is toilet paper now, and flour and hand sanitizer in the stores. My son no longer works at Safeway, my daughter goes outside now and thankfully I stopped washing the groceries. Some things have not changed though. We still wear masks and sanitize our hands and I am still working from home.

I am lucky to have 5 co-workers at home with me. My daughter, as she is homeschooled now, my dog Kia, my 2 cats Magic and Bella, and my conure Tango.

Tango is a co-worker like I have never had before in my life in an office. If he was a person, he would be locked up in the community hospital Mental Health ward. If he was a person, he would be diagnosed with insanity, I am sure.

Every morning I am greeted with screeching when I enter the living room. I open the blinds and say good morning, then I open Tango’s cage and grab his water dish. He leaps out at me and climbs onto my shoulder. We go into the kitchen, the cats meowing all the way. I feed them all, get water for Tango and coffee for myself. Then I must put Tango back in his cage so I can walk Kia, the dog. That’s an effort some mornings. He doesn’t always want to go back in, so I grab a piece of banana to lure him in there.

I come back from my walk with Kia and even before I open the front door, I hear the screeching from inside. I ignore him and get more coffee then I get my workstation in order in the living room, where Tango lives. He’s still carrying on, in his loud voice. I think he is yelling at me to let him out again.


I relent. I open the cage. He flies out and lands on the table where I have my computer set up. I sit down and log in. He wants to help so he starts pecking at the keys. I shoo him away, he squawks angrily at me, then moves right back to peck at the keys again.

We repeat this game for several minutes then he hops onto the top of my screen, I look at him knowing what he’s about to do…he poops. Now there is bird poop on my screen.

“Dammit!” I say as I go and get the Lysol and paper towel. I wipe of the bird poop, throw out the paper towel and put away the Lysol. I know I should probably just keep them beside me because its easier, but I get a break when I have to go get it again, a small break from my computer.

I have a meeting, next. I join my meeting on Teams, with my video camera on. Thankfully Tango is quietly sitting on his cage. The meeting goes on and soon its my turn to talk and I start he decides to fly over to me and perch on the side of my glasses.

This little trick is delightful to my actual co-workers…they must really be lonely. I laugh and chase him away. He just keeps coming back though so I ignore him, and the meeting carries on. When it’s over, Tango decides he’s tired so takes a nap between my chin and my chest. If I move, he gets angry and squawks loudly at me then goes back to sleep. A few minutes later he wakes up from his nap. He’s bored so decides to sit on top of my head and prune my hair.

Its not helpful though as he just makes a big knot and gets his feet stuck so I must pick him up and untangle him from my head. He never likes this and always tries to bite me.

“He’s still a baby”, I think to myself, trying to stay patient and sane. He really is only 8 months old. Still a baby trying to figure out his world, my living room.

I need a snack. Tango is perched on top of his cage looking out the window as I make my way to the kitchen. He notices me leaving and flies towards me. He wings are clipped, so he only makes it halfway and proceeds to walk the rest of the way. The cats are not around, and the dog is snoring on the couch, so he is safe to take a walk.

In the kitchen as I put bread into the toaster and get the peanut butter out, he catches up to me. He wants to know what I am doing, so instead of just climbing up my pant let he starts nibbling on my toes.

“OUCH!”, I yell and look down. “Don’t bite.” I bend down and hold my finger out for him to hop onto. Then I put him on my shoulder. My toast pops up, so I go to grab it and Tango, being curious about what is going on, hops down my arm, the one I’m grabbing the toast with and tries to fly on to the hot toaster.

“Not a good idea buddy,” I tell him and shoo him away from it. He lands on the counter and hops to my toast sitting on a plate. As I spread peanut butter on one piece, he nibbles the other. I switch pieces of toast and he licks the freshly spread peanut butter. Its sugar free so I know it won’t hurt him. My toast is all peanut buttered up, so I hold my finger out to him again and he hops away.

“Ok, stay in the kitchen then”, I say and start walking out of the kitchen.

As I walk away, he leaps onto the back of my shirt and hangs on. I imagine its fun for him because he loves to hang upside down in his cage.

Back in the living room, I sit down, thinking he has moved up to the middle of my back…I hear a load screech from behind me and I rise my behind off the couch. Tango jumps down to the couch and I watch carefully where I sit. I don’t really want to squish him.

At this point Kia smells the peanut butter and toast and wakes up. Drool starts dripping from her mouth. I feel bad for her, so I give her a piece. Tango is already nibbling on the piece of toast left on the plate. He figures he doesn’t need permission, he’s a bird after all. He is his own bird, has no master or rules. Makes his own decisions.

Once the toast is finished, Kia goes back to sleep on the couch beside me. Tango wants to help me work again. He proceeds to peck at my computer mouse. I am trying to use my mouse at the same time…this does not work so well. My daughter comes downstairs at this time. She decides to take him upstairs to her room. I feel relieved I don’t have to deal with him for a bit. This doesn’t work out though, and she brings him down a few minutes later.

“Take him”, she says putting him on my head.

She heads back upstairs.

Tango squawks and jumps on top of my computer screen. I know what this means, and I try to get him to step up on my finger so I can put him back in his cage.

He reads my mind and jumps down.

I try again; he flies away and gets back on top of my computer screen. As I look at him, thinking of getting more banana, he poops.

“Argh”, I say to him. I must sound like a pirate. “Step up”. He steps up on my finger.

“We need a break, go eat some food”, I tell him putting him back in his cage.

I clean up his poop…again.

Sitting back down at my computer, he stares at me. I try to ignore him, but I start to feel bad. Poor guy. I let him out and it starts all over again.

Tango, staring at me

The pecking at my keyboard, my mouse. Pooping on my screen. Playing with my glasses. Everyday for the past 7 months he has been my annoying co-worker.

Sometimes I don’t ever want to go back to my office, and then there are days I dream of working a day without my feathered colleague.


About the author

Patricia Krzystek

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