From time to time, to supplement my erratic income, I have worked on families’ computers usually cleaning off all the junk their kids put on them. I started doing this when I realized how little parents know or can be bothered with how much their kids screw up their computers. Unfortunately, due to my lack of any kind of advertising budget and parents aforementioned lack of care, the business never really took off. And as game as I was at first, my advice to these parents eventually degenerated into “Buy a Mac.”

Anyway, I was on one such cleaning mission with a particularly messy family–and I mean in every way. No control over their kids, house, pets, least of all their computer. It was completely screwed from the oldest near-teenage boy running every P2P program he heard about and in the process dumping spyware onto their harddrive daily. I was too much of a neophyte in the biz at that point to say, “You’re screwed; buy a new computer.” I’ve since been schooled. So I dug in and got ready for an afternoon of slowly repairing every fragment of memory on this dying machine.

Pets and kids trotted in and out of the room I was in. The door remained open. Behind the door, blocked by its openess, was the most disgusting litter box you’ve ever seen. Two feet deep of cat shit.

As it became apparent that this wasn’t a quick fix and the family had to run in and out to deliver their spawn to soccer practice or whatever, the mother came in the room to tell me their plans with a giant bird on her shoulder.

Birds are the filthiest animals ever and, quite frankly, people who keep them for pets are demented. This family couldn’t even empty the box of cat crap in their “play room” and they’ve got another pet that can poop from above? I was simply mortified.

Oh, but the mother explained, this wasn’t even her bird. It was her sister’s. She was keeping it for while since the sister something something something. I couldn’t even concentrate because there was this hideously disgusting, feathery rat on her shoulder. If I thought bird owners were crazy, she just upped the ante. A bird-sitter? You have got to be nuts.

So anyway, she tells me what’s going on, that she has to run some kids somewhere and her husband will be home in a minute with lunch for the other kids and me. This was unexpected and quite nice of them. She gets the kids out of the play room behind me and leaves and soon the husband brings me a sandwich. It was chicken. That may be a significant detail. Then he leaves and the house is empty.

I sit in front of the computer with a little miniature Fresca can in front of me and a grilled chicken sandwich and some fries on a paper plate in my lap, staring at the computer that’s still struggling to complete a virus scan. And a moment later, I hear this whooshing. Well, not so much a whooshing as a flapping but I didn’t put that together til too late. The air whooshes behind me and I have enough time to think “What the…” before it hits me. I mean, literally. The goddam bird flies into the back of my head.

This freaks me the hell out. Firstly, it startles me so much that I jump up and launch the burger and fries across the room into the dirty carpet. Secondly, I’m just grossed out beyond repair that a bird has touched me. My head even. Not like a hand that I could go wash. The back of my head. Is there poop on me? On my back?

Thirdly, where did it go?

So, I start picking up the fries and chicken sandwich pieces from a carpet that seriously has its own ecosystem in the fibers. Then I try to get my life back together. I look all around the room and satisfy myself that the bird is no longer here. I sit down at the computer and I hear the flapping noise from elsewhere in the house. They’ve left the house with a bird flying around in it. I am so disgusted. I close the door to keep the bird from flying back in but that just reveals the mountain of cat poo in the corner.

Finally, the mother comes home and is so embarassed at the cat poo scene that she props the door back open. I don’t even know if I finished the job. I just got the hell out, went home and showered. And believe me, I rinsed and repeated.

And rinsed and repeated.

And rinsed and repeated.