I met a woman who has a fear of finches. I thought it odd since I was engaged in the study of an emerald green humming bird when she interrupted me. I thought to myself "but this is a humming bird". My inner voice told me to keep that fact to myself.
I'll talk to anyone. Even a women who fears little harmless birds. I can also be dense at times, But no so dense that I miss the signals from somebody who needs to talk. I figured the finch lady needed to talk. So I bit - "How can you be afraid of such beautiful little birds?"
"It's because of my dreams. A thousand finches chase me. When they catch me, they dive for my eyes. I don't want to go blind."
I could sympathize. My dreams are haunted by trains. Always trains. Trains don't dive for my eyes of course. They just run me down when I least expect it... over and over again.
She went on. " When I see finches I can't breath. They scare me so much I have trouble even focusing on simple tasks. I can't even walk." She gave me a look that made me feel like I should understand. That her irrational fear off finches should in some way resonate with my secret and rational fear of trains.
I made my first mistake.
"Um... I don't think finches can tear your eyes out. They are harmless." I looked down at her with my best know-it-all smile. She seemed pissed.
"You don't know jack buddy. Finches are evil."
I looked at the humming bird for a moment before I spoke. I made my second mistake with my next words. In retrospect, I should have just kept my mouth shut.
"I'm into birds. I even sometimes watch a group of house finches in the morning before I go to work. They nest right outside my bedroom window."
Her hands went to her hips. Her nostrils flared. She gave me that look that can only mean one thing. She thinks I'm a dumb ass.
"Are you crazy? They're fucking finches man!"
She walked away with a look of absolute disgust on her face. I turned back to watching the hummingbird. I was a little confused.
Another women walked by a few moments later. She had overheard the whole thing. With a bemused smile on her face she said quite clearly.
"It's a good thing you're married".
II scratch my scraggly red beard for a moment. "Yep" I said a aloud. I had to agree with her.