"Happiness won't leave me alone," says the bird in his nest.
I have a little space heater that I keep in my kitchen because the kitchen is where it's coldest. The wind whips against our old apartment building and rattles the old windows and sets the sparrows and the starlings fluttering into my thin walls where they've made their nests. If there was ever any insulation in those thin walls, it must be long gone.
I don't know what to do about these birds. I knock on the walls where I hear their noise, hoping to scare them away. Sometimes I bark like a dog. They are like Newark Avenue's homeless, curling themselves up into dark shadows at the doorsteps of bodegas and newsstands. They are treeless beggars and I feel sorry for them, I do, but I don't want them in my walls. While I'm at work, I'm sure they squirm and tunnel and hop their way into the apartment, drink my beer, steal my change, listen to my records. I can see them there now, squawking around on the orange couch, spinning my new Miles records.
This is true: Upon arriving home after a weekend attending the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, I found smatterings of bird poop decorating my apartmenta speck here, a streak there. To this day, I'm still discovering little birdie love letters deposited in the secret reaches of my apartment. I have not found the bird(s).
On days like this after nights like last, my old, crooked apartment is particularly cold. It's difficult to bear, and I prepare and dress especially fast. Before leaving for the office, I smile at my hi-fi, knock on the walls, bark three times, and hold my face in front of the little space heater until I remember what summer feels like. In my mind, I hear Belle & Sebastian's "Piazza, New York Catcher."