Lost in Transit – A Hommage to a Cockatiel I Never Knew
Upon immediate arrival within the new landscape Tiel felt at home. Having never flown further than a couple of metres from the cage to curtain pole the great outdoors was definitely proving tough but satisfying. The ability to catch wind and steady himself among certain branches was uncommon for Tiel, yet his innate abilities did not fail him.
The next few hours had their ups and downs, all which are necessary for a cockatiel to go from Novice to Pro in the flight department. Tiel could now control his flight routes with acute accuracy and land on almost anything, as he so desired. The most attractive of which was a bright blue triangular form that sat on a point, but not at ninety degrees to the earth, more like forty or fifty, so that the cockatiel had to put more reliance on one foot than the other to stay well balanced. It wasn’t long until he noticed the triangle wasn’t resting on the winter soil but on a rather exquisite mirror. Confused by this situation the cockatiel couldn’t figure out whether what he was seeing was a reflection or a parallel universe. The latter seemed more rational at the time. Tiel dived towards his other dimensional self and began scratching, clawing and pecking at the mirror. Like any hyperactive child however, Tiel soon calmed down and this is when he realised how silly he had been. Embarrassed, he returned to the highest point of the triangle in hope that no other birds had seen him. He was checking for bullies or anyone looking his way that’s when he noticed something peculiar. Perhaps Tiel didn’t notice the excessively large purple blob that sat not too far right of him due to the mirror incident or perhaps before he was too low down on the triangular slope to notice anything, either way he was transfixed by it’s enormity. Whilst deciding whether or not he was up to the challenge of landing atop it he gave it a quick three-sixty to judge where he stood. The form was textured but not overly lumpy and varied in different shades of purple, however as he approached the first half of the blob the purple came to a prompt end and diagonal black and white stripes took over. The surface, which these stripes lay, couldn’t be more different to the purple areas. The textured surface transforms to a vertical wall that was as smooth as the mirror. Struck with awe at this transformation, Tiel hovered mid flight to appreciate it’s psychedelic beauty before returning to the blue triangle. He thought best to have a short interval before setting off again.
The I and O’s
It was fourteen minutes past two and my stomach was urging me to consume something. With a slow urgency I pulled away from the desk, noticing it’s curved acrylic edges as I did. My kneeling chair slid across the carpet with minimal friction and gave a hard thud as it slipped and hit the vibrant peach wall. I left the room. The corridor was long and rectangular, unlike the building itself which was a perfect square with a hollow middle to withdraw light from the sun. Walking straight, turning right and through two sets of doors I arrived at the lift. Six floors was quite a way to walk, or perhaps it wasn’t but my knees hadn’t been fully stretched in six hours. I leaned in to press the stainless steel down arrow and saw my finger being hazily reflected. The button pressed but didn’t deepen, it just glowed a classic lift-light-red. Churning mechanisms and a faint sound of ‘Going Up’ told me the vessel was on its way. The doors opened silently and I stepped inside. Sound was dampened, or perhaps because no sound was being made. ‘Ground Floor’ the polite, yet direct, voice spoke and I stepped out on polished granite tiles. Feeling a slight bounce from my rubber heels against the tough floor I moved towards the door – the strange glass window to the outside world. A boundary between the quiet, hollow cube and the busy, raw outside. I opened the door and the sound of London leaked in. I took a deep breath, the air cold and thick, almost edible in comparison to the stuffy cube. People rushed past and I felt tufts of fabric – cotton, leather, wool. Sprinkles of water splashed up my leg from leftover puddles and the movements of wet shoes. The road was near and I had to cross it. It was a sensory massage. The sound of traffic, the lights of cars, the smell of fumes, the wind in my hair, the spinning Earth at my feet. I crossed the road.
The pavement was a regular pattern, three squares across offset by half a square, two wholes, and another half. I followed the path, taking note of its irregularities at manholes and lampposts.
Ninety degrees to my right I saw a large wooden rectangle with steel edges, lying on six short cylinders. A large box sat at the front. On top of this was a long cuboid (it’s depth shallow in relationship to it’s length). However when viewed from the side it looked like an I. Large circles, O’s, penetrate its surface and I could see framed snippets of the scene behind; a boulder, masses of grass and small puddles. The O’s were equal distances apart and went from the top to the bottom in the middle of the I. It’s matt grey complex absorbed all light and colour, making it appear dense and thick. Without caution the I (and with it the O’s) started to shift. Only now did I see its tremendous weight, as though it gravitated others towards it – I could feel it’s mass. It was threatening but fascinating, and even more so when it began to rise in the air. The O’s capturing more snippets of the scene behind, yet blocking others before and after out. It continued to rise, juxtaposing its weight. As it did the circles became semi-circles, until disappearing under the solid rectangular bottom. It went up and over the grass. Light as a feather, I breathed.
Hat Over Your Face, Sitting in the Shadow of a Cactus
The first thing I remember is being pulled off an open back truck and being laid on the cold concrete floor. Here is where I met my new owner, a man with glasses and long hair. This is where things got slightly confusing.
Before I knew it I was being carried on his shoulder and six metres further down someone I can only assume as his friend was carrying me at my tip. I was placed in a dark tent surrounded by other pieces of steel; most of which seemed to have been in this place for a long time. They hadn’t aged well either - all were covered in rust or spider webs, an unlucky some had both. I remained in the tent whilst my owner was bending pieces of box steel, however they seemed to be slightly smaller than my size, probably an 18mm model rather than 20mm, like me. The man with glasses seemed pleased with his efforts on 18mm and soon I was being shuffled back out of the tent and felt the warm glow of the summer sun. Glasses went away for a while and came back with a small circular table, clamps and various sized wooden discs.
After much debate between Glasses and his friend they clamped a disc to the table and wedged me in between it and a metal rod. On the count of three I was being bent around this disc, however it wasn’t painful nor was I shocked; in fact it felt like this is what I was meant to do. The form I was taking felt natural, and although I could see the strain on Glasses’ face I could tell that he felt me pushing with him. It was exhilarating, I’ve heard stories of friends being cut and welded before, but rarely do we experience staying a whole yet taking the form of something completely different.
As my straight lengths got shorter I became harder to bend, but it wasn’t a bad feeling, it felt like I was getting stronger, like I was lifting weights. After the seventh bend I had taken on a completely different form, I felt like a new steel, a curvy steel. As I had expected I was then welded together and for the first time in my life I was whole. I didn’t have a top nor did I have a bottom, I was all.
I had three small pieces of square bar welded on to me too, two at one end and another in my middle section. It was nice to have some company, but the three of them kept to themselves so I rarely noticed they were there after a while.
A few days later I was taken up some stairs and in to a large white space, here I laid on the floor and Glasses tended to me with white spirit, cleansing me after all the hard work we had been through. I felt amazing, and I could tell my owner did too. In fact, he wasn’t my owner - he was my friend. After a short while I had been fully cleansed and Glasses began to spray be with the most beautiful colour I had ever seen. It was a bright turquoise – I was bright turquoise.
From here two of the square bars were placed in to the ground and I stood proud, but very wobbly. A cactus in a pink pot was then placed on the third and final square bar, the pink irradiating my turquoise and my turquoise likewise. I rather liked the cactus, I felt like a cowboy or something, I wanted to place my hat over my face and sit back in it’s shadow.