A little bird, a budgie to be exact, once told my fortune. I found his five predictions paper-clipped together when I rummaged through a desk drawer yesterday. I had saved them since 2009. I met him as I was walking with my friend Claudia down a street in Guadalajara in the fashionable neighborhood of Tonelá. In the midst of our relaxing afternoon, when Claudia was not otherwise occupied recruiting grizzled, elderly men to sit down next to me on a bench, saying that I wanted to have my picture taken with them, she decided to give me this special treat. Mid-stroll, she pushed me into an oncoming birdcage and put a few pesos in the palm of the bird´s owner. “You can experience the authentic Mexico,” she said, as the owner started to give me directions.
There were several birds in the cage and the keeper of the little avian prognosticators advised me to choose my favorite, the one that I wanted to tell me everything I needed to know about my future. I picked a bird who looked just as cute as the bird in this photo. He went to work immediately, using his beak to select four slips of paper from various slots in his cage. Worried that the four would not tell the full story, Claudia slipped him more money to pull out a bonus fortune.
From this experience, I learned that “cute” isn’t just an effective disguise for a person with ill intentions; it also works for birds. The first paper calls the little bird a “special oracle of the future,” though he’s much more direct than his counterpart in Delphi. He starts with this: “I, humble little bird, warn you that there are two people who appear to be your friends and they betray you; they envy your business and your loves.” This was the good news.
According to the second slip of paper, “I am the little bird that goes to the four points of the world predicting the future of each person, and it hurts me to tell you that you suffer, that although you desire to rid your home of discord… although they hate you, let them live in peace.” What great advice! This prognostication failed to take into account that my husband is the only person who lives with me. The best news in the third note is that although my friends are deceiving me, smiling to my face while talking behind my back, the birdie says that he will personally arrange for one person to tell me who my enemies are. The curse continues with the fourth note, which assures me I have a false friend who speaks kindly to me but really hates me.
Fortunately, after all this depressing news, the bonus message tries to cheer me up. In truth, I really have only two enemies, and will still be living with someone who doesn’t like me, yet I need to do noble acts in my life, and through my personal magnetism will dominate those who surround me. Did it occur to the bird that this domination he predicts may turn more of my friends into enemies? After poisoning me about all my friends and my husband, the birdbrain ends by advising me to “leave behind my pessimism and sadness.” Gee, I feel a lot better now. As a result of my re-encounter with “the little humble bird who predicts the future of each person,” I think I now need therapy. Or maybe just a return trip to Guadalajara to set him free from his cage and see how well he fares traveling to “the four points of the world,” including Antarctica, without his birdseed. ¡Ingrato pájaro!