Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Happy news from the depths

(drum-roll, please...)

Thanks to the intervention of the angelic J (my sister), Marvel and the Harveys** will be making a permanent return to the stage! They’re not going to be killed. They’re going to live out their days on this farm. Ahhh! Happy ending...

I’d cry with happiness, except I don’t feel anything at all. I should be joyful, but something’s bugging me. (Why be happy, eh, if you can be really fucking miserable?) I’m trying to make sense of this. And yes, the real story here is me, and not the calves... That last sentence should be ironic, but unfortunately isn’t. Maybe it's sarcastic? Whatever it's called, I'm trying to imply self-centredness to the point of cruelty, hoping that a touch of humour will undercut the hideousness.

Yesterday J said I should ask our parents to keep the calves rather than sell them. This is where my thoughts get fuzzy: I hadn’t considered asking them this. The idea had not even entered my head. All along I’d been thinking: the calves belong to my parents, they could use the money, if these calves don’t go then some other calves will, it’s the way of the world, this is where my income comes from, I eat meat so can’t object to the way it’s provided, it’s the cycle of life, it’s going to happen so I should just stop thinking about it. The calves are probably two years old now, maybe older (they’re not “calves” any more, that’s just what I call them) and from the time I stopped hand-feeding them I was thinking ahead to the time when they were going to be taken away, never once thinking that maybe they wouldn’t have to go. Not once did I consider this, not once.

My parents and I get along, I’m not afraid to ask them things, they’re kind people, I love them and they love me. So why didn’t I ask them to save the calves? Here’s the only answer I can come up with: it wasn’t because I thought they’d say no (I didn’t think they’d say yes, but that wasn’t the reason), it was entirely because I thought I shouldn’t ask. Because of some rule in my head, some rule about me. I don’t even know what the rule is. It’s like I’ve suddenly dropped down into a deeper part of my brain and seen something shocking, something I didn’t even know was there. And if I’m not being clear enough: I was willing to let those calves die because of some unacknowledged rule in my head about the way I should behave. It’s like meeting the enemy, and finding it’s in your own head. Suddenly I’m a stranger to myself. I’m not going to agonise about this, it was just a shock.

This post should be happy - those calves have a new life. First day of the Chinese new year, maybe we should call them Roosters? Marvel & the Harvey Roosters. Excellent! God bless J and our parents. Heroes, truly.

**The Harveys will be singing in soprano, if you get my drift. If you don’t get my drift - brace yourselves, men - they’ll be castrated. Bulls fight each other and will chase any cow that gives them the come-on, even if they’re related. Once castrated they’re called bullocks or steers, and they become more docile.