You Call it Bipolar-I Call it Mood Spectrum Disorder
Chicken Concerto in Three-Part Harmony
Let’s not get manic about the whole thing. Here is what one half-hour looks like in my world. I was working on a little building project, out by the orchard, well within hearing distance of the chicken house. Now, before I go any further, I must tell you that I never met a chicken that I liked. I have met many chicken wings that were appealing, and thighs, and drumsticks, but when it comes to the little beasties themselves, I am not a fan.
When Annie and Casey decided to expand the farm and include chickens, I protested that they were stinky and loud, with no socially redeeming value. Did I mention they are hideously loud? I swore that I would not be a part of any chicken business, and I have stuck to my guns. I do not care for the eggs, and it used to drive folks nuts. They’d say, “But organic eggs taste so much different than store eggs,” and I would respond, “Precisely.”
So when I have to listen to the little critters, after an egg has been delivered, I cringe and I find a way to exit the vicinity. Well, I was on the clock, getting paid handsomely, and you know what they say about handsome is as handsome does. If I exit the vicinity, I have to adjust the timesheet, and that makes me dig in my heels. I am not going to let the chickens bug me.
Until I am ready to scream. My issue is that a hen will select the most strident and profoundly annoying note, to trumpet into the spring morning air, and she will not stop. She will not vary one microscopic note from the original blast of off-key, clarinet screeching, and will repeat it at the same two second intervals, until the aural sandpaper has worn through to my bruised and battered eardrums. Finally, just as I am ready to dunk my head in the watering trough to ease the pain and provide silence, a second hen kicks into full gear, this one mimicking an ooga-horn off of an ancient Model-T, repeating the same note, at one second intervals, alongside the first.
Now I want to find a deeper watering trough, except that I start to get agitated. Instead of focusing my eyes on the task at hand, and making one of the several cuts I have to make, I find myself looking about on the ground to find a rock to heave at the chicken house, about 100 feet away. There is no shortage of rocks, so I snag one and let it fly. It causes great agony in my left shoulder, flies off the course by twenty feet, and ends up falling harmlessly to the ground, while I grab my left arm and try to make the ache in my shoulder diminish.
I decide that the ache is not going to go away until the chickens stop squawking. A third hen has joined the band, a band renowned for its projective qualities. I have begun breathing deeply, in an effort to keep adequate oxygen available for the upcoming fracas. I already have a slightly smaller rock in my hand and I am easing toward the hen house, figuring that I will have a better chance of hitting the darn thing if it would stop moving around. I can help guarantee that, by getting closer.
Now only fifty feet away, I heave the second rock, and it makes it halfway to the intended target, incensing me, because the chickens haven’t let up one note’s worth, and I am sure a fourth one is getting ready to join the cacophony. Now I find a rock that is double the size of either of the first two, charge up to within five feet of the side of the hut, and slam the rock against the wall, sounding like a shotgun blast. The chickens do not miss a note.
Enraged now, I storm to the side to the henhouse, and beat against the wall with both fists, imitating the appelliated woodpeckers that we hear every day of the week. In the instant after I drop my arms, and wait silently in my tracks, I am aware of two things: one is the incessant bleating of the moronic chickens, and the second is the soothing voice of Eric, the farmworker, sitting ten steps away on the front steps of the workshop, observing my actions sympathetically.
“Yeah, those chickens sure can be annoying.”
I turn slowly toward him, saying, “Well, I guess you got a glimpse of my illness firsthand. Sorry about that.”
In the background, the three hens went on, oblivious to the fact that their concert was the most detrimental impact on my very soul.
Chickens !-Mark 0. I don’t think it’s going to be a close game.