Thursday, March 13, 2008

Things that would not happen in Washington (but would happen in a movie)

Today, I was waiting with three other people for a business meeting.
Two of the people, who had not met each other before, who are in different not-farming lines of work, got into a discussion of their sheep (which both own, as pets) and chickens (which both own). And how old the respective animals were, and what sexes and kinds they were, and whether the male was a wether or ram. Some of these sheep and chickens are very old, so you know.
Also discussed: The one rooster that the one guy has. "We don't know anything about him, his lineage or anything. We found him. He wandered out of the town forest."
So, yeah.
I did not ever have this conversation before a business meeting in Washington.


mike said...

Well, I was often involved in conversations in Washington about the chickens I owned, although the chickens and I lived about half a mile outside Washington. And nobody owned sheep, but we (my then-housemate, now wife, and our downstairs neighbors) considered getting a pair of pygmy goats. (And our other housemate, now minister, considered learning how to make cheese.)

A noticeable percentage of my suburban chicken-related conversations took place at the firehouse and ultimately involved somebody saying, "All hens, no cock?"

bzzzzgrrrl said...

Y'know, I thought about mentioning you, but aside from the sheep, the really remarkable thing to me was that, in a group of four people, one of them me, none of them farmers, two of them would own sheep and chickens.

mike said...

Surprisingly many city folks, on hearing my chicken stories, say they too raised chickens when they were kids or they once had a neighbor who had chickens. I know there were at least two other chicken-owning households in Takoma Park in the early 21st century.

Cousin Mouse said...

We know a guy named Mike who had chickens on the other side of Takoma Park. The famous Roscoe the Rooster lived in a nearby alley, his crowing could be heard for blocks. We had a chicken that just wandered into the yard one day. We gave him away to our friend the sheep farmer.

I think the difference is that people in Washington, though they may have a chicken or sheep story in them, wouldn't bring it up at a business meeting. If any non-business topics are discussed it is likely to be kids and schools, vacations, restaurants, etc.

But, kids, schools, vacations, all are means to an end - scoring status points. Whose kids are in the better school, who has the most expensive vacations.

Sheep and chickens are just different means to the same ends. I'd bet the conversation you heard was had some subtle one-upmanship going on - feeling out which one is the biggest, baddest gentleman/woman farmer. From my days in NH and other rural or semi-rural parts I recall p---ing matches between moved-to-the-country professional types over who gets their hands the dirtiest.

Oh, yeah? Well my tractor is bigger, older, and more beat up than yours! And I spend all my time fixing it, so there!

Oh yeah? Well I built MY own tractor out of a solid block of wood that I milled myself from a tree I cut down after I grew it from a seedling!

bzzzzgrrrl said...

Ha! I suspect that, with these two particular people, there wasn't a whole lot of one-upmanship going on.
These are two very earnest people, both of whom were born and raised in rural places. You may be on to something in the status realm, though: At least one of them was likely trying on some level to impress the other two of us, particularly me, since it had already been established that I just moved up from The Big City.

Kay Bailey said...

You have made me so happy.

I just impressed my Washington, D.C. office mates by telling them that my father is living in a cabin of his own making that does not happen to have a toilet.

The reaction in my office rivaled that to more typical Washington scandals.

mike said...

Maybe they were trying to out-earnest each other. (Like sincere pumpkin patch proprietors vying to host the Great Pumpkin.)

ToddP said...

That sounds like a "Crazy Farm School" moment. Happens here all the time. The interesting conversations here are the ones where the animals escape.