For no good reason I have wanted chickens for years. It’s not a bandwagon thing since some of the appeal seems to be wearing off, at least in my geographic region. And it is certainly not an economic thing because these eggs are going to cost way more than the ones I buy in the store, even if I buy the happy-chicken eggs (which I do). It’s also not a logic thing because I travel for work about half time, have cats, dogs and a busy schedule under the best of conditions. All signs point to no, and yet the girls have arrived and are clucking away in the back yard.
I lucked out with an indulgent husband, two almost adult children ready to help and a nifty new rental program that lets you try before making a full commitment. It’s been about thirty-six hours and I’m pretty sure I love these birds even as I had to travel for work this first week of their arrival.
This is the irrationality of affection, and the mystery of having feelings. Despite logic, despite rationality we want, we love, we feel. Sometimes we do a better job of talking ourselves out of the irrational choice and acting in our utilitarian best interest. Sometimes we have to. Sometimes we don’t.
I saw a couple today that I came to know was the product of an arranged marriage. They showed clear affection and care for one another and coming from the western perspective in which I live I was at first surprised, and then disappointed in myself for reacting in that way. Then I wondered if the rational match-making process didn’t result in better marriages in general. It is a contract, not a feeling and thus when you find yourself in a funk there is no blaming the other person or justifying your own lack of commitment with vagaries about falling out of love. I know there are plenty of bad examples of arranged marriages, but still I wonder if taking the feelings out of the equation means better odds of partnership success – the partnership in this case being based on rational goals, needs and expectations not romance, passion or infatuation.
I have been married for over twenty years via a love-match. There are things about my spouse that still delight me and things that make me want to tear my hair out. Probably like with all marriages. When we got married we were according to most people we talked to, too young, too poor, without prospects for success (whatever that means), too different, etc. We were given long odds on success by the people who would have been responsible for arranging marriages on our behalf. Yet here we are, decades later children nearly raised and chickens in the yard. Despite the rational arguments and the illogic of our choice.
If I think about my life I’m not sure there are many things that I would say were good ideas. Things work out, things don’t work out, I can’t control all of it, really I can’t control most of it. But I can work hard, I can be patient, I can be honest about what I want and why I want it and I can be willing to admit when I make a mistake. All of that helps. I wanted the chickens because I have a very rational job that keeps me in buildings and on planes most of the time. The chickens will force me to be outside everyday. I wanted chickens because I like the esthetic quality of these birds wandering around the back yard, it makes me smile. I wanted the chickens because I like the idea of eggs from the yard, despite the cost and the work it feels empowering somehow. It’s an irrational decision but I know it, and I will own my choice. The rational decision is a good one too because at the end of the day your chickens are really whatever the chickens are that work best for you.