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THE OWLS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM

March 7, 2013

Dear Susan,

I am writing in response to your ad in Gumtree. I am excited and more than willing to carry out your requests. I can procure a proper owl costume and am naturally nocturnal most nights due to bouts of insomnia brought on by the secret burning within my soul to pretend to be an owl. A desire that is thwarted daily by society and by having no valid reason to have an owl costume made for me. You are the answer to my hedonistic whispered prayers. I believe I would make a wonderful owl as I am small and wear large glasses. Also my favourite type of muesli bar is chocolate chip.

As I wrote this, my hands flew across the keyboard of my laptop like a flurry of spastic bumble bees. I was so excited at the concept of being employed to do something I would enjoy and relish. Working in the grind and gristle of the 9 to 5 world had never been a successful endeavour for me. I got bored easily and found it difficult to form beige-coloured sentences. I had tried selling insurance in a call centre. There was paid training of six weeks. I was asked into a windowless office, handed a voucher for a free psychologist appointment and told gently and quietly. “We feel you just do not mesh well with the company.”

“Could this voucher be exchanged for one that entitles me to a free bottle of Torquay Gin?” I replied.

Oh, but this Susan sounded so great! Perhaps we would end up being life-long friends. She would ask me to her birthday party and there would be so many attractive imaginative new people to meet. This could be the catalyst of so many new and exciting adventures. I called my cousin Emily, who had drawn my attention to the ad in the first place. She had also CC’d my entire family in the email and they all were very excited about me finally finding my vocation. It seemed to all who loved me that I would be perfect for this role.

“Emily!” I exclaimed, without saying hello because you can neglect such time wasting niceties on family. “Can you make me an owl costume?”

My cousin Emily is this amazing young mother of four who makes all these amazing things while raising four of the most incredibly polite and sweet individuals in embryo.

“Of course!” She agreed excitedly.

“Hooray!” I exclaimed, as I dropped the spoon I was holding in my free hand. “I will get the train to you presently….which train line are you on again?”

As she answered I started humming.

“Are you drunk?”

“No,” I insisted. “Pouring gin over cornflakes is not being drunk, it is simply using a milk alternative.”

Two days later I was standing in my cousin’s living room, resplendent in her impeccably designed owl costume. Wings made of coloured felt were strapped around my arms by velcro. The costume was so pretty and and even had a head band to top it all off. I was ready to meet Susan and wow her with my owlbilities. No more disappointed looks at family functions now! When asked what I am doing these days I could proudly proclaim: “I dress as an owl and watch over a girl as she sleeps. They would stop laughing when they found out the pay rate.”

I was so excited that I wore the owl costume on the train home. This type of flamboyant show of individuality is normal for me but was not received well by the scary cluster of early pubescent youths in my carriage watching porn on their smartphones. I felt so free and more me then I have ever felt as I sat there looking out the window gesturing happily with my owl wings. Then my mobile rang. It was my journalist friend who has his finger on the pulse of everything.

“HOOT HOOT.” I said in greeting as I flapped a wing in jubilation.

“Hi Jess, um…I have some bad news.” He proceeded to tell me the awful heart wrenching truth of it all. The owl ad had gone viral all around the world. It had been covered by the Huffington Post. Her name wasn’t even Susan. She had no desire to be watched over by a girl or boy in an owl costume. It was all a joke. She was just a very clever person who even compiled a blog of all the witty responses she received.

She had even created another fake ad where she had asked for a male individual to climb into her bedroom window and pretend to be Edward Cullen from Twilight. That ad was removed and no blog of responses kept as they were all too pervy.

My friend articulated his condolences and I was left alone on the train with my clouded thoughts and obliterated dreams. My glasses fogged up and the tell-tale burning started in the corners of my eyes. The train’s rumble and steady motion surged me back to the real world and back to a life of unfinished gin-soaked cereal.

“Hoot hoot”. I said softly to myself.

Hoot.

Hoot.

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