BEWARE THE COUNTRY PEOPLE!




Okay, so as some of you know, I just was involved with saving a bunch of chickens, a duck, and lastly, a cute little bantam/fancy pants rooster named "Chicken Joe" that no one had wanted because they already had one.

Yesterday afternoon, the rooster was crowing all morning in my kitchen and I'm so sad we can't stay together, and I'm thinking about how I'm two weeks behind in everything because I'm obsessed with this darling little rooster Jeffrey named "Chicken Joe" and I can't sleep because I'm waiting for him to crow at 3 like everyone says he will, but he messes with me and waits until 7ish. So I've got four hours where I just get up to pee as often as I can to at least entertain myself.

So my friend, Rebekah, says to put an ad on Craigslist.org. I'm afraid, but finally I do because I can't even see friends without trying to convince them to take on a rooster or call everyone they know. I mean, Craigslist?--he's not a bike or anything.

But I do, and go out for coffee and Mexican wedding cakes with my friend, and come back to a phone call from a nice lady named Ally, who wants Chicken Joe.

After 45 minutes of hearing all about her tragic family stories and she's still cheerful, I decide to drive him to her 6 rented acres in Napa.

She'd said it was only 45 minutes away. So, I left around three and DROVE the rooster 4 hrs. round trip in rush hour to some lady out in the country. Two times back and forth to Santa Rosa and then to Napa with the rooster.

Now this: I'd been borrowing a friend's car because I drove friends to the airport to be in Japan for a month, and their friend was going to take the car because I don't want the responsibility in the city, but I didn't hear from the friend for days and got a ticket in that time. When I tracked her down to take the car, she wouldn't pay the ticket, so I said okay, fine: I'd keep the car then.

Being from California now, I took it as a sign to drive birds wherever they wanted to go like a one-time soccer mom. The kind of soccer mom who'd do those disconnecting thumb tricks uncle types used to do when I was a kid, but now you don't see it anymore because kids would expect squirting blood and shards of bone sticking out.

Anyway, about the car, Emily will probably totally kill me with all the chicken mileage I've put on it.

So the lady--she's fine, everything's beautiful. She was gorgeous, and a little older, and had that young look Dyan Cannon keeps going for: you know, the fifty-year-old midriff bit. It's darling because even three kids later, they're STILL the cheerleaders and I'm the nosepicker.

Only revenge folks like me got against such things is that the pretty girls all get a little crazy insane as they get older. Like they just can't take it. Life's been going downhill since high school. It's sort of sad. Two or three divorces later, they have that prozac won't-you-still-take-care-of-me? Look. Think Anna Nicole Smith/Blanche DuBois. Pink lighting. While the rest of us are jumping out of beds, facing our futures with cats-who-ate-the-canaries grins, things have switched and now they're going into old age the way most of us used to slog up the high school steps every morning: with that stiff and tight look of horror, dread, and resignation.

Blondes are the most pathetic. Everything, including their lower eyelids, becomes translucent, floppy, and pink rimmed.

Anyway, so I go home and in the morning after I go to City Hall to protest parking permits on our block, I come home to a message that Chicken Joe's fine but her birds are gone.




Gone??? What??? Was Chicken Joe the rooster SO unbearable that her hens just had it and up and left?

I call her up and she proceeds to accuse me of not really leaving late that afternoon like I had (around five), and skulking around Napa for hours until the middle of the night and stealing her canaries or letting them loose.

Canaries? Wait--I thought the CHICKENS were gone. I was like, "you've uh...GOT to be kidding me." Was she joking?--She thinks I drove a rooster from San Francisco to Napa so I can case out her pink rental house for canaries??? Wouldn't I do better to chase pigeons around in the park and corner them? They're local: I'd save on gas, tolls, and lots of time. This has been the million-dollar rooster that I fell for after riding around with him in the car, the rooster that no one wanted...

So then I was really afraid she was crazy and would kill the rooster like Carrie's mom would do in a Stephen King book, so I talked in a very calm voice, trying to listen for rooster cries for help in the background. I thought THIS is what I get for giving away a beloved animal online and I'd gotten a lot of emails from you all, one from a girl named Kerri who said not to give pets away for free because someone'll experiment on them.

I thought that experimentation may've been better than leaving him with a lady in the country who thinks I've got nothing better to do after driving a rooster all around California for a home and crouching around in the foliage in Napa until the middle of the night to steal her canaries.

...rrr....uh...Canaries are like the goldfish of the bird world. You can probably buy them 3 for five bucks. Plus, I don't feel a connection with canaries. I only felt a connection to the duck and the rooster after hanging out near them for so long. And I was only open to that happening because of the PBS documentary, The Natural History of the Chicken. Go find it, rent it, whatever. Chickens are amazing.

But then I got off the phone and just sat still staring at the floor for about an hour with this really nauseous feeling like I was going to vomit.

I called Dyan Cannon back and confessed all the other bad deeds I'd done, like throwing VCRs down stairs and burning cars, but that I had absolutely no beef against her. I'm the kind of person who can't contain such a cat-who-ate-the-canary smile because I'd jump up and down and point at the empty canary cage. When Animal Control came to get the duck I stood out there so the owner could see me, know just who was watching her bad animal antics.

I was trying to convince her of my innocence and how illogical it was for me to go to so much trouble. She said she's got computer cameras trained all over the house, but it just missed the canaries, and that she'd been an investigator for 21 years and was having a friend drive up from San Francisco to analyze the fuzzy tape. She sounded so sure that I'd crumple and confess and I couldn't win.

I hung up the phone and cried because I felt like the black guy happily whistling down the street with a bouquet of flowers who then gets stopped and accused of doing a drive-by shooting and raping a white lady...

And so that's why I turned my sadness about the rooster situation intoa silly story as fast as I could because I felt so sick, nauseous, and sad, that something so innocent and happy turned into something so peed on and crusty and spooged on and that totally pisses me off.

And well, then, maybe that's the karma. Oh, not coming back as a neglected rooster hoping that my mom's lost wallet rule will kick in, but that instead of pissin' and moanin' I don't get all hardened and go buy a gun, lock my door and refuse to meet anyone at their houses, but that I love all the teeny tiny critters I can, set ants free, take spiders outside, and just make fun of stupid things and laugh at their puckered anus faces and skip along my merry way onto the next adventure without throwing chewing gum onto the sidewalk because maybe I'll step on it 500 miles later.

Anyway, regarding karma, either way, I figure I might be covered regardless here n' now, or later.

And we're never so selfless because it all comes down to self-interest. I'm not being cynical. It's just that that's the best motivation for not peeing in the pool!--because YOU may end up swimming in it, and the fucking beauty then is that turns out to be good for everyone swimming! How do ya like that?

Anyone tells you they're selflessly doing something totally for someone else, they're the ones who turn out to the be crazy stalkers who drive by your house chain smoking pall malls and end up with puckered anus faces and living in the country on a porch with a shotgun in their lap.

And even though I understand all that, I still don't understand how or why the road to hell really IS always paved with good intentions! Fuck it. What can you do? I haven't figured it out yet. But my art will that I will continue to live an even cornier happy daisy life. That'll be my art now, no matter what anyone says about style and success. Fuck, that's what being an artist or having a raunchy sense of humor trains you to do all along: to ignore a lot of other people's bullshit.

And the way that I think bob ross's art wasn't really in the finished canvas paintings but in the videotaping of him actually painting them and talking about fluffy squirrels and happy green mountains, because he made his viewers feel confident to paint or all cozy like being tucked into bed. Ah, it's a caricature to think that all good art must slash you across the neck and have you bleeding semen.

I hope and pray that Chicken Joe will be okay. Anyone in her right mind would never walk onto an American's property without a warning 'cause Americans shoot first, ask questions later. Especially if you're remotely tan colored and visiting country folk.

Note: by the way, watch Michael Moore's new movie, "Bowling for Columbine."

My friend, Mark, said that country people are all on disability and a little crazy anyway. Chances are, that's why they're in the country in the first place. Can't be around people. And so few things happen to them there, if you visit and there's a car accident twelve hours later, they figure it was your fault.

Old fashioned witch-burning thinking. Note again: watch "Bowling for Columbine."

And James said, "Country people are often like little fuedal lords - they have more land to protect and if they keep animals or grow crops then they are constantly suffering attacks from outside forces, whether it be natural or human. They only see their neighbors from a distance, so they become suspicious of them. There are constant border wars over stray pets, falling trees, shooting guns..."

My friend Jeffrey asked if I was so upset because I was getting my period. Maybe, but how it all went down broke my heart. I'll never, ever get updates on Chicken Joe, now... he's totally and utterly gone from me.

And then he paused and said maybe SHE'S getting her period too, and that the overlapping of cycles, any convergence of cycles causes a tear in the period universe.



Yeah, just so happens that I am getting my period.

So fellow Craigslist city dwellers, beware of the country people. And pray little Miss Dyan Cannon midriff lady doesn't take stress out on Chicken Joe-- and if she does wig out, that he can handle her like an experienced boyfriend calming down wigged out girlfriends. I'm not ever going back there to even taste, smell, look at or even think of wine ten minutes away. No siree. They'll think I'm stalking them 'cause they already think I'm some kind of chicken fairy--but canary thief, and if I stopped to say hello at high noon, they'd probably blow my head off.

Note: hey, uh, did I mention you should see Michael Moore's new movie?

So you all, send good California woo woo vibes to Chicken Joe.

---Erika "So Sorry" Lopez





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