Sunday, March 9, 2008

Mafish Mushkilla

As a guest, living in another country, you constantly make decisions about what to be fussy about and what to let slide.

Do I worry about the fact that the man who cleans the floor and drain with his bare hands at the tameya (falafel) shop is often the same man who prepares my sandwich and graciously offers me tameya with those same hands?

Nope. I don't think too much about that. No one else around me is getting sick, why be a primadonna?

So when we started hearing funny noises -- bird noises -- coming from our air conditioning unit, I decided to just suck it up. Afterall, birds need a place to live too, right? Mafish mushkilla -- no problem.

At first, it was just a little shuffling and scratching. No big deal. Then the scritch scratch of claws on the tin top of the air con woke us up earlier and earlier each day...

Stupid bird.

I started becoming obsessed with what was going on in there. Is it building a nest? Will it poop in there? Didn't I just read about several bird flu deaths in Egypt?

Every moment spent in our bedroom, was a moment spent plotting to get rid of the bird.

Our apt is on the 14th floor and the air conditioner hangs out of the wall making it virtually impossible to reach. The only option would involve pulling the unit into our bedroom and squishing the nest and all it's occupants. Result: dead bird babies on my bedroom floor.

I couldn't do it.

So I called the AUC housing dept. They asked my husband if he could kill the bird. He calmly replied that no, he could not. Please send someone over to deal with this right away. Click.

No one showed up. So we sent another email. Another week passed.

Still no housing people.

Last Monday, I woke up with a stuffed nose and a blinding headache. Could it be the pollution, change of weather or dust? No. I was convinced it was the bird living in our air conditioning unit. I called the housing dept and must have sounded a little hysterical because their head Engineer and his team showed up within the hour.

Turns out it was not some cute little bird starting a family. Turns out there was a small entrance above the unit that led to a large space in the wall that had room for dozens of birds. Dozens. Crows, pigeons -- God only knows what other kinds of flying rodents had been zipping in and out of there, just a few feet from our bed. I can't think about that too much. Too many flashbacks to Tippy Hedron in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds"....

The good news is that there was no nest. And thankfully, no poop. And surprisingly few feathers. The housing peeps did an incredible job. They sealed the opening, encased the unit with wood and built a one foot frame around it.

The head Eng said to our housekeeper: "You know, most people call us and say they have a big problem and then, it is nothing. Today, she (ie: me) said she had a small problem but this, this is a huge problem!"

We still see birds flying towards our air conditioning unit and then pulling up at the last minute. Yasir says it's like they went away for the weekend and someone changed their locks.

Sometimes I feel guilty (thank you Catholic school) for robbing them of their local hang out... but then it was me thinking of them that got us into this mess in the first place. Let the bastards find someone else to torment.

1 comment:

Cairomaniac said...

Can I comment on my own blog? the birds are back. They now sit on the window ledge and take turns taking flying runs at our air conditioner. So one annoying sound has been replaced by another...