December – The Official Month of Ungratefulness – Meditation #19

I live in a small town. There are so many things I love about it. Whenever I pop into town to do my chores, I always see a dozen or so people I know, which results in at least a dozen hugs. This is the bane of my partner’s existence as she sincerely believes that hugging causes colds and flu and always tells me off. Fortunately, she rarely accompanies me to town for chores and has no idea how many germs I gather to bring home on most days.

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The thing about living in a small town is that you get comfortable in the knowledge that you know everyone you should know, especially people who have been there as long or longer than you have. So, when you encounter someone you haven’t met before and discover that you have many friends in common and that they are very interesting, it’s always a pleasant surprise.

Today, I had one of those encounters. I don’t have a vehicle, except for my bicycle. I used to ride it everywhere. A combination of being a lazy fucker and not being able to carry the case of wine I bought for Christmas in the basket, meant that today I took a taxi. I have a regular driver, who I know well. I know all about his crazy drunk ex, his custodial issues with his kids and his lovely new girlfriend. I even help out with his kids and their homework from time to time as they don’t have a computer at home. I know that may shock some of you, but I live in a poor country. Today he was busy and sent someone else.

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The someone else was a very cool guy. I happen to love chatting to taxi drivers. They know everything that’s going on. They might not always share it, but if you know how to access the information, it’s there.  As often happens, I mentioned I had chickens, which won’t be news to people who have read this blog before. Now keep in mind I live in a country with the highest per person capita for chicken consumption. Also remember that it’s a poor country and chickens are there to eat and to make eggs, in general.

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Turns out my driver has chickens too and he told me about this gigantic cockerel he has at his home. He says his wife loves it and strokes it and won’t let it be turned into soup. He says it’s devoted to her but hates him. I asked if it had ever attacked him. If you’re not familiar with chickens, cockerels can be very aggressive and do some serious damage. Given the size of the one he was describing, it sounded rather formidable.

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He said that it never hurt him, just wouldn’t let him near it but that some children had ‘stoned’ the cockerel when it was young and so now it does attack children. I sat in silence for a moment wondering how, in a small town with huge numbers of free ranging children, one manages to keep a cockerel that attacks children, alive. He then went on to say that he rents a couple of apartments out underneath his house for an extra income. “I have to be very careful never to rent them to people with children”, he said seriously.

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I’m struggling with being ungrateful today, but I’ve committed and so I must. So, today I am totally fucking ungrateful for the fact that I have never had the opportunity to bond so closely with a cockerel that attacks children that I value it as much as I would a dog that did the same. Not that I’m saying I value the trait of attacking children -of course not. But those of us who have had dogs that bite, which I have had in the past, learn to manage and live with those dogs so that we can keep them and children out of harm’s way. To have the chance to have that sort of bond with a cockerel, is something I’m yet to experience. But, it may happen yet. At least one of my chicks is definitely a cock. Luckily I’m not fond of my neighbours and he’s staying.

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