She & Him Tour & Stuff

My window looks out onto the roof, and I'm watching a little bird wash itself in the rain gutter. It's a pleasant black bird, with warm eyes and a beak that somehow forms a smile. It picks its head up and locks eyes with me. My knowledge of cartoons and all things fantastical makes me think it's going to start whistling "Goodbye My Coney Island Baby" with a squirrel, a rat, and a beleaguered alley cat.

It doesn't. I'm learning to live with contradictions.

I'm in that mood though. That animals-sing-to-you mood. The problem is that people think it happens when you've just fallen in love, but it's always a bit more melancholic than that, almost bitter, like when you want to fall in love but don't. It's a mocking song. The birds sing, and sure it's cute and everything, but if you look into their chocolate-colored eyes, you can see that they know you're blue but want to keep it that way. "This is how good you could feel," they seem to say. "If only you could be a bird like me."

If you look into their eyes long enough, though, staring at them while they wash themselves in the rain gutter, you can also see they aren't so well-adjusted as they'd have you believe. Not everything is delightful up in the sky; they just don't wear their hearts on their sleeves. "Why don't you ever sing to me?"

The bird's friend splashes down, another little black one. It dips its head in the water and shakes it off before looking at me too. "We have feelings, why don't you sing to me?" Two more fly in and bathe, and suddenly the gutter is filled with morose birds. "It isn't all about you," their eyes all seem to convey. "Our hearts hurt too. Why don't you sing to me?"

They bottle their emotions and drink alone. If only we could sing to them when they're blue to cheer them up.

"I don't sing," I tell the birds. They splash water on me. "Don't be like that. Hold on." I open the window wider and turn on my stereo. What might help them?

I put on She & Him's Volume One (TMT Review), Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward's melancholic yet bittersweet album about falling in love but probably not falling in love. It sounds sweet. It feels like it should cheer them up, but I play it to mock them as they mock me. "How do you like it?" I sneer.

They don't like it at all. It's pleasant music, but it hurts. I feel satisfied, but horrible. We'll all have to get better at living with contradictions.

They're touring, as the crow flies:

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