Do you realize I am intolerable? Yes, yes. And I am single-handedly wrecking home values and bringing disease to millions. And I'm just generally icky. Yes, you wouldn't believe the things I do.
I . . . I . . . keep chickens.
Last night, we attended a city council hearing on the keeping of chickens in my city. Currently, up to six hens are allowed, no roosters. Apparently, all it takes is one ridiculous citizen. (No, not me.)
My ridiculous, complaining neighbor found a couple of realtors to come to the hearing with her. They stood up and spoke about how backyard chickens will diminish home values and, therefore, should be banned. My neighbor, herself, waxed hysterical about salmonella run-off from our property, rabid animals being attracted, and just general "ickiness."
My husband and I sat there waiting to speak, feeling defeated and mischaracterized. Then, one by one, people began to file into the hearing room. First, a woman carrying an egg carton. Then someone with a basket full of eggs. Then a mother and son, both wearing bright yellow shirts saying: Poultry Club. Slowly, these people filled up the room. When it came time to speak, they formed a line behind the podium and took turns speaking for the next 90 minutes. We spoke as well. It was heartening to see so many people there to support us and the concept of pet chickens. The council will make their decision next month.
Either way, we will be able to keep our chickens due to a grandfathering clause. But that's not the point.
Whatever happened to "live and let live?" Whatever happened to neighborliness? How about kindness? What about tolerance? Or is that reserved only for the most violent among us?
One woman displayed a painting by her teenage son and read his accompanying poem. And then she expressed my sentiments perfectly. "We're all different. Of course we're going to step on each other's toes sometimes. Of course there is going to be something about me that may make your eyes roll. But we're all people. We live together and we live life together. Our differences are what make life interesting. Let's stop trying to make everyone the same."
I don't know what is becoming of the traditional individual. It seems to me we are all for diversity when it involves something very new, something never before tolerated, and that's great. But where is the tolerance for the more traditional among us? It seems those people are being asked to give over the things we most enjoy and hold dear and that ask far less of society in general.
Chickens? Chickens as pets? That's where we draw the line, I guess.
I would be discouraged, but for the amazing support of our local poultry club. They were prepared, eloquent, and impressive. Chicken keepers . . . articulate. Who'da thunk it?
She also regularly complains about laundry being hung out on the line.
Just try to take my clothespins, Honey!