…and another near-cry today.

I had an emotionally fraught time yesterday, and today was about the same.

Yesterday, I put the new month-old chick named Gaahl in a pen with my most agreeable hen, Big Red, and hoped for the best. He tried to treat her like a mom but she wasn’t interested, and they spent most of the day just standing several inches apart.

Come nightfall, I went to lock them up in their makeshift coop. I had used a small crate for this because I wanted them to be forced to really bunk together and bond a bit, and my idea had worked well — Big Red was in there, all puffed out, and Gaahl was out of sight, somewhere underneath her, purring and tittering away happily. Finally, one month into his life, he had some quality time with a parent figure. I thought that even if he just gets this at night, it will still be better than the heat lamp he’s had for a parent so far.

I hadn’t expected things to change much from yesterday but after their cozy night together, something must have clicked for Big Red, because today she was doing all the classic mother hen stuff: squatting down and puffing herself out for Gaahl to nestle under her, making excited sounds when she found food she wanted him to eat and then breaking that food into small pieces for him, getting her hackles up when anything alarmed her. It was incredible. I honestly didn’t believe it at first and thought each thing was just a coincidence but nope. She happily mothered him all day long, and he could no longer care less about me — just like it should be. Here they are. It’s a shitty flip phone pic but you can see him peaking out from the safety of her feathers. Yes, Big Red looks quite stern here but it’s just the angle. She’s actually supremely easygoing.

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I spent a lot of today just watching Big Red and Gaahl interact, marveling at how life works sometimes. For those that don’t know chickens, it’s important to realize that most chickens put in a pen with a baby that is not their own will attack it and possibly kill it. This happened to poor Gaahl when I tested out just putting him in with the flock straight away. So for Big Red to be so chill about being put in jail with this annoying, needy baby who appeared out of nowhere is pretty remarkable to begin with — for her to adopt him and essentially become broody (that’s a chicken term for “I’m in the mood to have babies now,” and many chickens go their whole lives without ever becoming broody) is something I’ve never even heard of, or imagined would actually happen. It is surreal and heartwarming.

Cue the near-cry. That’s four in two days now.

I really have to hand it to Big Red. We’ve had her since she was just three months old herself, and she’s basically a chicken grandma now at five years old. She’s always been a pleasant and friendly bird. She still lays eggs (many hens stop laying by age two or three). She’s been mauled by dogs twice. Both times, her back was torn half off — imagine when a person gets scalped. That was what happened to her back. Now imagine if your back got scalped, twice, and you miraculously healed up with nothing but polysporin and several days of rest, and then you went back to laying eggs. It’s incredible.

And now, she has happily adopted the needy baby I foisted upon her.

Big Red, you’re a hell of a bird. You have my love, gratitude, and respect. Do chickens read blogs?

*Following day additional note – Big Red spent this morning in her crate and so when she came out of it, I checked and she had laid an egg. So she is both raising a baby and still laying — yet another thing I’ve never heard of. Normally, hens stop laying, sit on fertilized eggs for three weeks, raise the chicks for 2-4 months, and then finally forget about their kids and go back to laying. Big Red continues to amaze me.*

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It’s just a three-near-cries kind of day

Last night I picked up a rooster chick that someone was giving away. It’s one of the all-black breeds, like this one…

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…which I’m a big fan of, even though I’m not usually wild about roosters. I brought the little gaffer home and found he was very friendly with people, which I’ve never experienced before. He was most happy sitting on the shoulder, arm, or lap of Jenn or I, being gently stroked and spoken to. Pretty cute. Once it got dark out, we tucked him under one of hens in the nesting box. She’s not broody but we hoped they might hit it off and she’d be his step mom or something.

But this morning I went out first thing and let the hens out. His would-be step mom came out of the coop but without the little gaffer. I checked in the nesting box and there he was, alone and slightly cool. “Fuck,” I thought.

I brought him inside again and Jenn and I took turns swaddling and cooing at him for an hour or so. Then it came time to get on with the day and I realized I still had no idea what to do with the little fella. After a few ideas that fizzled, I ended up putting him in a separate pen with his step mom so that he would have company and a good role model, even though she’s not nurturing him like a broody mama hen would. He cries and cries when I walk away and continues to cry for a few minutes, and it breaks my heart. I wish I could be a broody mother hen for him but this is better for him (and us) in the long run.

Even worse is when I go out to check on him he starts peeping excitedly…only till he sees me leave and his peeps turn to wailing cries again.

That’s near-cry #1.

Near-cry #2: I was working in the yard today when I heard a chicken sound from somewhere weird. It sounded like it was right by my feet but I couldn’t see a chicken anywhere. I looked again, and there was my favourite hen, Little Shirley, looking like she had wedged herself in between some pallets and the outer wall of the horse barn. She was chirping away at me like she usually does (she’s very talkative and friendly). She frequently explores stupid places like this and she didn’t seem alarmed so I figured this was nothing unusual and left her to continue with whatever silly game she was playing. But I passed by 10 minutes later and she was still there, craning her stupid head out at me. I went and looked from the other side and saw that she had laid an egg and taken a huge shit back there — this was not a good place to lay an egg, and they don’t usually take a big ol’ shit on their eggs so this was not usual. I pulled the pallets away from the wall and Little Shirley eagerly hopped out but her right leg wasn’t working so she fell on her side when she landed. She hobbled up and tried to walk away but her leg wasn’t working at all and she basically rolled onto her right side with every step. My first thought was, “I’m going to have to kill Little Shirley,” and my heart sunk right into my stomach.

That’s the second near-cry. Luckily, within 15 minutes, Shirley was trucking around almost like normal, and still very hungry and acting herself, so it seems like she may avoid the chopping block yet. Fingers crossed.

Next one: while I was outside, it suddenly started raining really hard. Chickens don’t like rain much so they started running for cover. I went back to check on Big Red and the little guy to see if they were smart enough get under the tables I put in their pen for them. Big Red was under one but the little dummy was still out in the rain — dang, the idiot. But right then, almost as if he knew his daddy was watching, he made the connection and toddled under the other table. I haven’t had this chick for 24 hours but it was such a ‘proud poppa’ moment that, well, I almost cried.

That’s three, count ’em, three times I almost wept like a baby today. I swear, backyard chickens aren’t usually this exciting. Normally you just let them out in the morning, curse when you step in their shit, and lock them up again at night.

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But really, who can blame me for loving the little fuckers so much?

musings of a sleepless night

I woke up at 4 am this morning and had a hell of a time getting back to sleep. Instead, I lied there, repositioning occasionally, thinking about all manners of things. Such as:

  • The performance of the lead guitarist on my death metal band’s 2008 EP wasn’t good. He hadn’t rehearsed his parts enough, written parts that really suited the rest of the music, or changed his strings prior to recording. He was pretty young at the time so I chalk his lack of commitment and professionalism up to that.
  • There are some small details on the cabin Jenn and I are building that, in hindsight, we could have done better. Construction has a steep learning curve.
  • I need to make a list of things I would want a housekeeper to take care of on a regular basis, and then I need to actually contact a company and get moving on this. The filthy walls and baseboards in this house really bug the shit out of me but those aren’t things I derive any satisfaction out of cleaning.
  • I need to order new front shocks front shocks for our truck.
  • I don’t think I really liked myself until I reached my early 20’s. When I think about my life before that, I’m embarrassed by a large percentage of my behaviour — so much so that I wonder why my friends even liked me before I was 22 or so. This relates to my whole Fish Mania post so you can go back and read that if you don’t know what I’m talking about. Basically, I feel like my life was a big Fish Mania story up until around age 22. Of course I still fuck up and heave with new regrets on a daily basis, but it’s a heck of a lot better than it used to be. I wonder if I’ll look back and eventually dislike the me that’s writing this now. Jeez, that would be sad to be 80 years old and think 75 of those years were bad. That’s the life of a cynic though, I suppose.
  • At some point after thinking about this various stuff, I must have fallen back asleep because I had a bad dream about having 10 or 11 chickens. That would have been fine (and accurate) but people kept coming by and dropping off their chickens too. Pretty soon I had 20, then 30, and so on. There were so many chickens and roosters, and not enough room for them. Some of the roosters were nightmarishly large, twice the size of peacocks, so large that I was scared of them. Golly, they had some beautiful colouring though. One was black with purple and pink highlights. Stunning. Anyway, then I found that the chickens must have started cannibalizing their eggs because despite having so many hens, all I could find were broken egg shells in all the laying spots. That bothered me. Then a guy dressed in a capuchin monkey outfit started picking up and fucking the chickens. I was horrified and disgusted but he had a sinister look on his face like he was truly out of touch and dangerous, so I looked around for a weapon. I found a corn broom I could use but two real apes seemed to know what I was up to and didn’t like it so they were giving me stink eyes as well. I wound up beating the shit out of one of them with the broom, and then beating the shit out of the guy in the monkey costume too. They had all been posturing and were actually huge pussies when it came down to brass tacks. Then I woke up feeling grossed out by the whole dream.

Fuck, now I can’t even remember all the other things I thought about before the dream. It’s like those thoughts evaporated or drifted away like smoke, just like dreams do when you wake up unless you make a point to go over them in your mind so that they sink in a bit. Damn. Oh well. Like the rest of this post, I’m sure they weren’t important.

2018 recap

I wrote a recap last year and I really liked it so I’m doing it again this year. I was thinking about it the other day and it reminds me of the letters my family would receive at xmas from friends and family we didn’t see very often, letters those people had written to keep us abreast of what they got up to over the year. I found those letters universally boring and old-fashioned but when it comes to my own life and writing about it in point form, well, it’s just a really doggone efficient way to sum up a year’s worth of living.

Without further ado, here is what the masses have been clamouring for all year long! Sound the trumpets, open the gates! It’s my recap of 2018, yahoooooo…

  • Jenn took part in a video that went modestly viral, accumulating almost one million views in a week or two. She thinks the video will be the single ‘biggest’ thing she ever does in her life, in terms of reaching a vast audience. I agree with her, and think that’s pretty neat.
  • After selling her horse last year, Jenn found a new project in a one-eyed walking panic attack she named Marvel. To liken him to a human so he’s understandable to people who aren’t familiar with horses: he’s like the son of Usain Bolt and Serena Williams (in other words, a gifted athlete by nature) who was always a nervous child to start with, who then went blind in one eye at an early age and subsequently passed from foster home to foster home, accumulating mountains of mental trauma along the way which resulted in turning him from an anxious fellow into a full-on delusional, paranoid spaz. But Jenn saw the natural talent in Marvel and decided to try putting a lot of love and effort into him and what do you know, he’s come around in a big way. Personally, I love him because he’s a big, gentle beast who wants nothing more than someone to show him affection — he’s like a big dog, and that’s the only kind of horse I really like.
  • In January, I bought a Nissan X-trail after lusting for one for years. It turned out to be a very frustrating lemon. I managed to sell it without too much difficulty but it was an unpleasant experience.
  • In early February, Jenn and I drove the Pacific Marine Circle Route from here to Sooke to Port Renfrew to Lake Cowichan to home. We left at 7 am and got home at 7 pm, and had a fantastic time. We saw lots of cool waterfalls, giant trees, and abandoned towns. I love doing ‘tourist in your own town’ shit.
  • Jenn and I explored and hiked some other areas around here we hadn’t seen, like Mount Manuel Quimper in Sooke and some tucked-away areas in Goldstream.
  • In March, we went up to our property in Sointula to build a lean-to so we had a place to store some shit and keep it dry before we started building a small cabin. We didn’t do a very good job on the lean-to but it (almost) does the job. On the bright side, we did some fun stuff while we were there. The tide was out so we walked across the bay to the marina to use their showers, and we hiked to Melvin’s Bog which sounds shitty but was actually very pretty, and on the drive home from Sointula we hiked up to the Woss Lookout which was downright breathtaking. We were above the clouds and it felt like being in a fantasy movie.
  • Spring 2018 was a banner year for chickens having babies at our place, as five of my eight hens went broody. For those not familiar with chickens, that’s a lot for breeds like Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rocks. Altogether, we raised a dozen chicks here over the summer, and I learned a lot about what I want to do different with raising chicks next year. I kept two, slaughtered one rooster, and gave the rest away to my dear friends Tom and Marion. I still visit the kids when their new parents allow me.
  • I built a 200-gallon rainwater collection system off of our barn for use in our vegetable garden. It went pretty well, and was a good learning experience in case we decide to do something similar for our cabin up island.
  • In April, I officiated Ben and Madeline’s wedding. I was nervous as all hell but it went great, and the ensuing wedding was utterly fabulous. It was a stellar collection of friends, the place was stunning, the food was unreal, the fancy hot tub was a nice touch, and I got to dance to Dark Cat.
  • Jenn and I started building a one-room cabin on our second property. Falling trees was fucking hard work, and took much longer than expected. Learning to lay out the construction blocks square and level was frustrating, and had a steep learning curve. Putting the walls and roof up was extremely challenging — even writing this now, I’m having flashbacks to how awful I felt at the time. But since getting the roof on, things have gone smoother: we got the doors and windows in and put the Tyvek stuff up, then Liam came up with me and basically built the frame for a roof over the deck by himself. Slowly, the dread from the worst parts of the build is receding in my mind, and that’s good. That was a dark week.
  • On the way back from another trip to Sointula, Jenn, Stella and I went swimming at Stotan Falls in Courtenay. Beautiful place, easy access. What a gem of a swimming hole.
  • Some friends from Vancouver came and stayed with us for a long weekend in the summer, and we tried to give them a nice ‘small town weekend.’ I think it went perfectly. We went thrift shopping with them, took them to some local breweries, went bowling at Duncan Lanes, took them to The Black Swan for karaoke, went swimming in the quarry, and watched a horror movie on the side of the house. I get wistful just thinking about that weekend, it was such a good time.
  • Ben, Tom, Dana, Paul and I went tubing down the Cowichan River in July, and it couldn’t have been any better. Dana’s Star Trek floating chair was a huge hit with everyone who saw it, Paul was gooned basically from the start till the end and was mercilessly tossed from his tube countless times (almost face-first into a rock wall, at one point), and we all had a groovy 3 hr float in the sun. We went for dinner at the York St. Diner and Ben was too drunk to stop the content of his sandwich from exploding onto his plate. The waitress was very understanding of our situation. Our better halves all worried sick about us being gone so much longer than we’d originally estimated, but these are the trials and tribulations of river floating. I am eagerly looking forward to doing it again next year.
  • Jenn bought a second project horse named Gossip, who was an adorable and easy baby of a pony. She was perfectly sweet, friendly, curious, eager to learn, and eager to please. She took longer to sell than Jenn hoped for but she finally went to a great home, which was the most important thing. However, the lesson learned was: two horses is too much — one horse is enough.
  • My chicken’s eggs won first place in the Cobble Hill Fair in the ‘large, brown’ division. I was such a proud daddy!
  • Jenn and I went to the Cowichan Exhibition for the first time in years. It was…gross. I don’t think I’ll go again for another five years or so.
  • My revamped Misfits cover band finally played a Halloween show. The promoter was an odd duck, a strange schmoozy rude brat of a person, but our performance was fine. More than anything, I just loved playing music I love with guys I love hanging out with, and am excited to start playing with the gents again soon.
  • I volunteered at the Glenora Haunted Hall for the second year in a row, and it was just as great as last year. My friend Julia teamed up with me for a gory human butcher scene, and we were a big hit. Dana even came and volunteered at the hall with us on the second night. I felt like a kid again.
  • I watched my grandfather die. He was 95 or so and his health suddenly declined so he signed up for a medically assisted death. Jenn and I joined my mom and the rest of that side of the family to see him off. I’ve witnessed enough death that I wasn’t fazed. But he wasn’t the warmest individual either so I’m sure that made the whole process a bit easier.
  • I went down the rabbit hole this year with acquiring all manners of vintage household items — appliances, artwork, kitchen utensils, stereo equipment, clothing, xmas decorations, etc. I now like our home much more than before, and I have to once again thank my wonderful friends who indulged my insanity and helped me get my hands on a lot of this stuff.
  • Xmas 2018 was a little weird overall. I worked xmas day, I was the only member of my family at my family dinner, there was a huge storm just before xmas that knocked out power and internet to everyone for a few days, and it wasn’t snowy or even very cold. That being said, this was the best family dinner I can remember, free of endless, pointless Grandpa Simpson-esque stories and an undercurrent of awkwardness and strained relationships. And Jenn and I did our typical xmas morning stuff on xmas eve and that was perfectly lovely. And because of the power outage caused by the storm, Jenn and I made soup on our wood stove and played Scrabble by candlelight, which was a beautiful, ‘slow living’ evening that reminded me of how different life can be if we just turn shit off for a while.
  • Speaking of slow living, after some thought and a blog post, I decided to start reading at home more, and so far I’m really enjoying it and feel good about my efforts.

Boy, I had been worried that I wouldn’t have much to write here, that not much really happened in 2018. Was I ever wrong. That’s one of the beauties of this exercise, it really illustrates just how much note-worthy stuff goes on in a year, even if we take it for granted or just don’t remember it all at once.

I lead a charmed life, and I’m grateful for it. Many thanks to Jenn and all my friends who, against great odds, make life in this proto-wasteland fun and worth living.

Happy new year.

I’ve been an emotional basket case

Jenn and I are building a cabin on some remote property we own. We have some carpenter friends who made it sound like a pretty easy thing to do as long as you have some common sense and a decent work ethic.

I’m here to tell you that the cabin is slowly coming along — we have a floor, walls, and roof so far — but it’s been a god damned struggle. I now understand why carpenters have to do a whole bunch of schooling and apprenticing. There are so many aspects to building that I simply never imagined, and each one has so many layers and details that it’s impossible to get a good grasp on each one from just a few youtube videos and wikihow pages. Our lack of knowledge and experience (and resources out in buttfuck nowhere) have made the project incredibly challenging and stressful so far.

This level of challenge has had positive and negative effects on the project, because the times when things have gone well, we’ve been elated. But when things have gone badly, we’ve been absolutely miserable. I’m not exaggerating when I say I was on the verge of tears a handful of times, feeling overwhelmed, in over my head, hopeless, etc. There were times when, to console myself, I thought about how even though I’ve wasted so much time and money on this, at least I still have everything else in my life to be thankful for — health, Jenn, good friends, a home I love, a job I’m happy at, etc. To have to fall back on such basic things to comfort myself, I clearly had to be feeling very fucking low. I can’t remember ever doing that before. I can’t remember ever feeling like such an abject failure at something.

Thankfully, we somehow pulled through all of that, got the cabin to actually look sort of like something, and are now at a point where the remaining jobs are generally smaller and less daunting. I hope that our subsequent work trips are just as satisfying and rewarding as this last one (when things went well, of course) but far less mentally and emotionally straining. I much prefer the ‘low effort/high reward’ work model, personally.

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I was so fucking happy to come home and see the hens again. They don’t give a toss if I’m a useless tit at carpentry.

…and the recap

what is recap even short for? anyway.

since xmas, i’ve been thinking about writing a recap of my year on here. it’s terribly typical and i doubt many people would find it interesting since i certainly wouldn’t give a shit about reading some random person’s “we went camping in the summer and that was nice” thoughts. luckily, this whole blog is entirely self indulgent so i’m going to go for it regardless. i think it’s a good tradition to consider starting so that i can have a summary stored here for future perusal once i completely lose my mind.

so here goes with my fave moments of 2017. read on only if you’re incredibly bored with everything else.

  • i don’t remember much from january or february.
  • in march, jenn and i went to bamfield with our friends kristina and jason. they have a cabin there so we spent a few nights at it, and it was lovely. bamfield is such a remote, tiny, haunting, beautiful place.
  • i learned to humanely euthanize chickens.
  • i learned to slaughter chickens and make stew with the meat. i also learned that even the meat of spent old laying hens is just fine as long as you boil the hell out of it. don’t listen to all the dummies who tell you it’s no good, they’re just uppity bitches.
  • i finally started learning to play bass using the traditional slap and fingers styles. it reignited my love of bass guitar, and sent me on a long quest to find a 5-string that satisfied me.
  • we got a second dog, laika, and learned how poorly things can go with a new animal but my god, she was a sweetheart.
  • i helped my mom move from quesnel down here to the island, and got to try an $8,000 massage chair in the process. the move was fine, the massage chair was unreal. worth the price, if you can afford one.
  • i bought my first suit. each part of the suit is sweatshop-free. i felt really good about that and have made an effort to make sure all of the clothing i buy now is sweatshop-free.
  • we went to three weddings over the summer: steph and tony, matt and chant, and genevieve and matt. all of them were a lot of fun.
  • we stayed in strathcona park for another 4 days after matt and chant’s wedding and did a bunch more exploring there. we checked out gold river (which was neat) and tahsis (which was just sad) while we were in that neck of the woods. on the drive back to shawnigan, we went up to mount washington and hiked some more strathcona trails from that side of the park, and they were the best trails we’ve seen in the park.
  • we lucked out and were able to view the solar eclipse with our naked eyes thanks to the perfect amount of well-timed cloud cover. then, even more cool, we saw the two giant solar flares on the sun, once again with our naked eyes. the smoke from the forest fires made the sun a dull, hazy red, and we could see two small dark spots on the lower right face of it. i wondered what the hell those spots were so i looked it up online and learned about the solar flares. fucking incredible.
  • we had a good friend build a large garage with hay loft on our property. i helped him and learned a lot about construction, and the frustration of building inspections.
  • we retired jenn’s ’92 civic VX in favour of something that doesn’t leak when it rains and has a better crash rating.
  • i took july off of work due to problems with my back flaring up again. that sucked, but it spurred me on to try new forms of rehab which have worked out splendidly since. it’s now been 6 months since i last hurt my back. that’s great.
  • we got a second goat, fay, to keep jamie company when the horse is away for extended periods. we learned that even a formerly charming little fellow like jamie will turn into a disgusting rapist once a female goat is brought into the mix.
  • we bought 10 acres of land up in sointula, and went to the salmon days festival for the second time. we want to build a small cabin up there this summer. we’ve never built a cabin before so i’m a little nervous how it will turn out but i’m confident that with the incredible power of the internet, we can figure it out.
  • we hatched a half dozen chicks, just the second time we’ve done this. i’m a proud daddy.
  • jenn and i hiked out to an old hydro power plant just outside of victoria. it was nerve-wracking and exciting as all hell. the ice cream afterwards was to die for.
  • we got two black female kittens, jinx and wednesday. i quickly fell in love with them.
  • at halloween, jenn and i volunteered at a haunted house in glenora and it was amazing. really looking forward to doing it again this year. after that on the 31st, dante and i walked around the beach estates and hung out with sue and jim baker around their campfire. a jack-o-lantern may or may not have been smashed on the walk back to the car. what a solid halloween.
  • jenn sold her horse, ollie, to a very good home down in the US. then she got a new project horse, a neurotic one-eyed fellow she renamed marvel. despite his quirks, i like him. he’s very gentle and affectionate.
  • i played my first gig in 7 years with a misfits cover band. i had wanted to play a halloween show with the band but it didn’t pan out so we ended up playing a show in december that went pretty well.
  • the holiday season of 2017 was fantastic. my clan’s family dinner went as well as once can hope for; jenn’s family dinner was wonderful, complete with snow falling on xmas eve; spencer and julia hosted festivus and it was another great one; jenn and i hosted a new years party (our first ever, actually) and despite the short notice and a lot of people being sick, it had a good turnout of our closest friends. much karaoke and dancing ensued. i made brunch the next morning for some of our pals and that was a lot of fun too. i think it was only the second time in my life that i’ve made food for more than just myself, yet it went well.

i wonder what other notable events i’m forgetting. whatever, that’s a way longer list than i even expected to come up with.

happy new year to all you sons of bitches. looking forward to another year of this shit, provided we don’t die somewhere in the middle of it, which is a persistent possibility. do you ever wonder if this new years eve/xmas/birthday/etc was the last you will ever see? i do. i think about it all the time.

and that’s why you should make the best of each day. you don’t want to be dying in a ditch or hospital bed somewhere this year, thinking, “i really should have gone out and seen my pals last new years.”

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2018, i’m ready. let’s do this.

reacting to accidents with rage instead of concern

a while ago, i witnessed a minor car accident at a gas station. woman #1 was in an SUV parked at a pump. woman #2 was in a new-ish but beat up car that was backing in to the pump in front of the SUV, but wound up backing right into the SUV. woman #1 honked her horn at woman #2, who had her windows down and loudly responded, “fuck you!” and continued muttering other things i couldn’t make out. woman #1 got out of her SUV and approached the beat up car. she said to woman #2, whose windows were still down, “don’t tell me fuck you, you just backed into me. you just damaged my car.” despite her brazen tone before she was face to face with the owner of the SUV, woman #2 now refused to make eye contact and instead made herself busy rummaging about in her passenger seat while muttering things that seemed to further irritate woman #1. as i drove away, i could see that the scene continued on like this for a while, with woman #1 getting more and more angry at the insolence and lack of apology from woman #2. it was a depressing thing to witness.

it made me think about how people often react absurdly to bad things, like when my dad used to step on the cat’s tail in the kitchen. this happened frequently when i was a kid, and it always went like this:

    • dad accidentally stepped on the cat’s tail;
    • the cat howled in pain and ran away as fast as it could;
    • my dad stomped his feet and yelled, “well, don’t just sit there under my feet, for fuck’s sake!”

even as a kid, i thought that was a weird reaction. why was my dad freaking out? he wasn’t the tiny creature that just had an appendage crushed by a 220 lb pale, hairy ogre in his underwear. dad should have been concerned for the cat, sympathetic to it. even if he was annoyed by how frequently this dance occurred, he could have simply shrugged his shoulders and said, “i’m sorry but you should know better by now, even if you are just a dumb cat.”

i know i’m guilty of these kinds of reactions too, and that’s what i hate about it the most. when i see other people do it, i’m embarrassed for them but i’m also embarrassed for myself because i’m reminded that other people have surely seen me react to situations just as terribly. it’s a senseless, unattractive habit that lacks any grace whatsoever.

conversely, if woman #2 from my opening paragraph had got out of her car and approached woman #1, apologized for backing into her, and asked if woman #1 was alright, i would have thought, “that’s a strong, graceful person who is quick to admit their mistake, concerned for their fellow human, and wants to make the best out of that bad situation.”

and that’s the person i want to strive to become. i want kindness to be my default state so that no matter how awful or infuriating a situation may be, i can come out of it feeling good about the role i played in it.

now that i’ve written that, i just know one of my chickens is going to flap its wings in my face when i put them to bed tonight and really, really test me.