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3 little birds sit by my doorstep

published: 2009-07-29

While cleaning the floor of my new office space, it suddenly hit me. This feeling I was having – a fluttery excitement with a hint of nerves – it was reminiscent of first days at school. First days call on fundamental emotions. We are animals and are programmed towards the desire to survive. When entering a new pact, it is of crucial importance the pact will accept us. Otherwise, we risk being bullied around or ousted, perhaps abandoned and left to die. In my case, I have been scripted to smile stupidly whenever I enter the realm of this first day-anxiety. Also, I tend to dress in line with with the general fashion of any new environment. This may sound weak, but I really can’t help it. I went to various different uniformed schools. Before going to a school one would prepare by buying the school’s uniform. It became a ritual. Besides, give any environment a closer look and you’ll notice everyone looks kind of similar. People are always wearing uniforms. Armour even.
I love my new office space. I am subletting it from a visual artist. She has cleared away all her things, such as the impressive amounts of televisions and other audio-visual equipment stacked from floor to ceiling. Her prints, photography gear, her books, her ecoline ink boxes, her piles of paper and cardboard and Styrofoam boards. Her lithography machine.
She left her smell – the gentle smell of linoleum she has cut. And she left two origami birds that fit in the palm of my hand. There had been thousands of these birds. She had used pages of history books to make them. She must have noticed – consciously or subconsciously – how the tall stack of plastic boxes filled with those birds fascinated me. There is a third bird: she has pinned a postcard-sized photo of one against the wall.
Today, I took a closer look at the two birds that have been separated from their pact and only now noticed their individual difference. The pages that created them were of different languages.
The birds endear me. She and I, we like each other. Despite our different uniforms, we are of the same breed.

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