It’s For the Birds-Tales of the Coop II -is it Binding Arbitration?
My wife is always telling me how the animals ‘talk’ with her, a veritable Dr. Dolittle. She said that the chickens who she has named, there are eight of them, come running when their names are called. She says that you can hear when one is ready to lay an egg, is hungry or otherwise is lonely and need attention. I just hear the roosters in the morning and the cackling from these critters throughout the day. I did not pick up on any special communication gifts beyond that.
Well, one night I had a dream. Someone was knocking at the front door of the house at a rather odd hour early in the morning. I wondered who could be calling at so ungodly an hour. When I opened the door it was one of our roosters, the one apply named Foghorn Leghorn, Foggy for short. It looked up at me and said, ‘we need to talk’ I said to him, “I wasn’t in the habit of talking to chickens, what do you want?” It seems that there were issues about the accommodations that needed to be addressed. Then, I suddenly woke up. I told my spouse about the dream. She said that it was an omen. She had spent years living in Jamaica and had acquired all this mysticism as part of her life. But, I never went in for all that ‘ooga-booga’ stuff. Consequently, I was in state of disbelief; after all, it was just a silly dream
Well, just two days later, on this perfectly good Sunday morning there was a crisis, one of the chickens escaped from the coop. The Missus and I were running around literally like ‘chickens with our heads chopped off’ trying to find the area where it escaped and patch it before its companions followed after it. One of our three dogs had been digging around the area attempting to get underneath the coop to get at the smaller birds that have been getting in to feed on the seed corn. This female dog was unique among our golden retriever family as a hunting or bird dog. I told my wife to take the water hose to her every time she catches her near the coop. Obviously; we needed to send a stronger message to this dog. She managed to eat one of the incapacitated little birds whole. I guess that outside of being my pet, the wolf like nature wired in through instinct never really goes away. Once she got that taste, it was a connoisseur’s delight for her. Our male golden follows her along into her mischief all of the time. I only have one other female that is so much more refined in her breeding and behavior. I constantly remind my wife that this one is so well behaved because I was directly involved in raising and training her in my own ‘finishing school’, to have only the most refined of manners. I never have to worry about her getting out of line. My refined golden is so regal in stature, never drinks out of toilets like her ‘low class’ siblings. I remind my wife that it is all about breeding, don’t you know. She is the only one of the three that is not begging while we are trying to eat dinner. When she has to go to the bathroom it is referred to as her ‘toilette’ and she is, unlike the others, ever so discreet about the process.
The Culprits: Ohia(male), Lelani(female), Leihua(female-troublemaker)
My wife said that that was why the rooster was knocking on my door in my dream, there were issues that needed to be discussed regarding the security of their lodging. And Foggy was the selected representative among the chickens to make his entreaty to me directly. Talking to chickens, now she has me doing it! I told my wife, why do they complain they have a pretty good contract with me? They get 2 cups of seed corn a day, all the fresh water they could drink. They live in a split level coop, with ample space for them shielding them from the elements outside. Their home is the envy of the neighborhood. All I ask for is that they keep their quota of eggs per day. These are hardly concentration camp or gulag conditions. They have a nice life as chickens and this is the thanks I get? I was a contract negotiator in my previous life, now I have to negotiate with chickens? They have a pretty good contract with me right now. I told her to tell Foggy in ‘chickennese’ that I might lose my patience and break off negotiations. As a consequence, ‘Mr. Big Shot’ may well find himself in my deep fryer as the penalty for wasting my time. From the fire into the frying pan, as it were. This would constitute a well deserved lesson for biting the hand that feeds you. It would certainly send a strong message to the others as to how I can handle grievances.
How life can change is still a marvel in itself. Two years ago, I was busy trying to get Government contracts negotiated and funding obligated prior to the September 30, 2009 fiscal year close deadline. Now, I have been reduced to negotiating with chickens. But, I dare say that the process is not quite as stressful these days.