Without question, there are some serious advantages to being single. Like when I got home Saturday night, tired from a long evening of matzo and prayer, I collapsed on my sofa and sprawled out the entire length. My head rested on one arm and my toes tapped against the other. I peeled myself off the couch only long enough to scrape the last viable remnants of ice cream from a container, lazily leaving the empty packaging on the counter. Much easier than actually throwing it out. And when I got into bed, I positioned myself smack dab in the middle of the mattress, my head propped atop two pillows and my legs playfully scissoring every which way.
Living alone means I can leave my dirty laundry on the floor instead of tidily disposing of it in my hamper. It means I can pee with the door open, poop without fear of discovery and fart without muttering a giggle infused excuse me. I can hog the remote control without ever having to stray from Bravo and I never ever have to check the sports scores on ESPN, not that even know what channel ESPN is. Simply put, there’s no need to be polite or accommodating. Living alone means it’s all about me.
Sunday morning I rolled around in bed a few extra minutes, my feet stretching to the far corners to play within the chilly pockets. I eventually got up and went to the bathroom. From there I scuffed to the living room, stepping around my treadmill to access the balcony. I curled my fingers around the door handle and gave one good tug. A gust of fresh air bellowed the curtains. The echo of chirping birds bounced off the brick walls. The scent of lilac blossom tickled my nose. As I breathed in the presence of spring, I scanned my outside space to determine what I needed to do to prep it for usage. And there by my feet, a mere six inches shy of my girly painted toes was a dead bird.
I stepped back a little before crouching down to confirm what was lying splat against my concrete floor. From the cluster of feathers to the tiny yellow beak, it was most certainly a bird. I slammed the door closed and tripped across my treadmill as I clamored for the phone.
“I have a dead bird on my balcony,” I announced before my mom finished saying hello.
“Who is this?”
“No time for small talk, there’s a good chance I’m four feet away from the avian flu.”
“Oh, PJ, good morning,” my mom sang in between sips of her coffee. “Thanks so much for all of your help last night. I never could have managed that without you.”
“Mom. Did you not hear what I just said? There is a dead animal on my balcony.”
“Well whatever you do, don’t touch it.”
“No shit. Any other bright ideas? Like perhaps offering to come remove it?”
“No, no, you’ll be fine without me. Good luck!”
I hung up the phone and quietly backed away from the sliding glass doors before disappearing down the hall. I got dressed and then fled, preferring the crammed aisles of Wholefoods and overflowing parking lot of Starbucks to my residence. As I stood on line to pay for my groceries, I started to toss around all of the evil things a dead bird could represent. Obviously my mortality came to mind. As did a few of the plagues identified during the previous evening’s seder. As I mouthed the Hebrew words - dahm, tsiffardayah, keeneem - I nervously tore into a candy bar I was waiting to purchase, ultimately presenting the cashier with nothing more than a tattered wrapper.
Monday morning, as soon as I settled into my desk at work, I rang the maintenance department at my complex and left a voicemail.
“Hi, yes, this is Paige in unit 201 and, um, I have a dead bird on my balcony. It’s small. But dead. And let’s be honest, I can’t even remove a dead fly without squealing. Anyway, I’m pretty sure this falls outside the realm of your duties but I was wondering if,” I said, my sentence halting when I heard a click.
“Hey Paige, it’s Steve.”
“Hi Steve. Listen, out on my balcony is,”
“A dead bird,” he finished. “Don’t worry, I’ll grab it. No charge.”
“Oh my God, I love you. You know, this is one of those times I wish I had a husband,” I confessed with an audible sigh.
“Not a problem.”