I’m in line at McDonald’s waiting behind a woman in a wheelchair. Everyone was giving her a wide berth and I wasn’t sure why. I got in line behind her only to realize she had a parrot on her shoulder.
My first thought was that she looked like a Pirates of the Caribbean villain after they’d run out of ideas. “We’ve already made a bunch of bad guys look like a squid. What about just some lady in a wheelchair?” “Sure, you know what we’ll wheel Dianne Wiest out there and make it work. She’s a pro.”
No one at McDonald’s said anything, which was weird because there’s no way you can have a bird in public, right? There has to be some kind of health code violation. You don’t see people at Dunkin’ Donuts with their hawk. And it’s not like it was a service parrot. It’s no telling her how to get around in between asking for crackers. “WATCH OUT FOR THAT STOP SIGN, BUGAWK!”
Do parrots say BUGAWK? This one didnt, so I can’t confirm.
I figure the reason no one said anything was because of how confident she was. She owned that situation. She was unapologetic in having a bird in a public space. Everyone must have assumed she knew something we didn’t. Like they’ll call her out and then she’ll unroll a big ass paper giving her a dispensation. “Oh you say I gotta take my parrot out of here? Well actually, as far as the state of New York is concerned, this parrot has as much right to be here as you do.”
At first it was just kind of shocking, but the more I thought about it, the madder I got. You’re telling me I could have been taking birds into Mickey D’s this whole time? I’ve never had a bird, but if I’d known that I’d be sending carrier pigeons on 20 piece McNugget runs like crazy. I’d have owls placing Big Mac orders like it was their job.
I kept trying to figure out why she brought the parrot with her. Parrots are fine to be left on their own for awhile. Only reason I can figure is she needed the parrot repeating her order back to her later as a weight loss motivational tool.
“Maybe I will have some ice cream…”
“QUARTER POUNDER WITH A MCFLURRY, MAKE ‘EM A LARGE.”
“You’re right Polly. I DON’T need that. Salad it is.”
I tried to avoid eye contact but eventually it happened. I looked right at the bird. It looked at me. I freaked out for a second, thinking it would go crazy.
It just looked back at me with a weird pleading look. As if to say, “Yeah man, I don’t know why I’m here either. Does this place even have crackers?”
It almost looked like it needed help.
“BAWK – HELP ME, MY OWNER KEEPS FEEDING ME MCDONALD’S!”
“Oh okay man, I’ll help…wait, how did you say that? Parrots can’t voice original thoughts.”
“SHE SAID THIS EARLIER. THIS TOO. AND THAT. AND THAT.”
There’s no ending to this story. I guess if there’s a lesson, it’s that it’s good to know I can take a parrot into McDonald’s in the future if I ever own a parrot who likes fast food.