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Monday, February 21, 2011

A Singlutionary Chicken Funeral

I have pet chickens in my backyard.

My least favorite chicken died yesterday. We weren't that close. I have a special bond with my other chickens -- they all have strong personalities and are feisty or stubborn or friendly. They stand out from the crowd but Little Beer was a quiet simple chicken. Maybe she had a deep inner life.

Who knows? She was a chicken. And now she is dead.

Yesterday, Little Beer's sister, Mohawk -- the other silkie chicken that she was brought up with from chickdom -- was bereaved. Mohawk wouldn't talk or eat or move. She just stood there stunned. Last night, instead of making a perch on the toilet in their coop (where she usually sleeps), she curled up on the floor of the coop. I poked her to make sure she was still alive. She looked at me without any recognition. I tried to get her to eat the most delicious chicken feed but she wouldn't budge. I thought this morning I would have another fluffy yellow chicken body to bury.

But this morning Mohawk hopped out of the coop with the other chickens, her period of morning, at least temporarily, ended. I brought her her own food and made the other chickens back off so she could eat, but there was no need: Mohawk was hungry and wasn't going to be bullied. She was back to her better self.

I have great plans for a chicken funeral. I want to dress up in my farmer outfit (where I look very much like my avatar from the formerly addictive facebook game, Farmville) and say some words over Little Beer's grave with the other chickens in attendance. I want to bury her with some good food and a bottle of beer. It would be fun and playful and a genuine celebration of Little Beer's life.

Lately I have taken to obsessively videotaping myself giving monologues while doing various things or going about my life. I do this because I do so many things alone and I want someone to share them with. So, I video them so that I can either edit the videos and share the online or so that I can just feel like there is someone to talk to about my experiences -- even if that "someone" is a credit card sized crappy video camera.

I would like to videotape the chicken funeral. But then I realize, it might be difficult to find someone to hold the camera. And there isn't enough time to train my dog to do it.

Like many single people, I have friends. I have wonderful friends and wonderful roommates. But as Special K commented on my Vday post, my life lacks intimacy. In the past, I have had intimate friendships where we knew everything about each other and talked all the time and we were available to each other for support no matter what. But as my friends coupled off or married, our intimate friendship was crowded out by their intimate partnership with their partner or spouse. And now, all too aware of the energies a romantic relationship demands, I am reluctant to develop new intimate friendships because I know that they are essentially temporary, a stop gap until one of us couples.

Although I take issue with the way our culture works, it is still the way our culture works.

And so, with the death of Little Beer, I also realize that what I would really like is a capable, supportive person in my life who would enjoy participating in a chicken funeral and would gracefully hold the video camera while I perform the necessary invented rites required to lay Little Beer to rest. It is an odd request and one made on a weekday in cloudy weather. If I am going to put the fun back in chicken funeral, I would like another human to share this unique experience with.

There are a few people I could call upon. I could ask one of my roommates, I could ask my best city friend. But people are busy. There are so many other things to do.


Anonymous said...


I'm sorry that you lost a pet - they are like family so it's a sad time.

You now need some help from someone to hold the video but your roommate and friends are busy ....

But ... I think there's a difference between (1) being busy and (2) having NO time.

In every relationship (including friendships) there's "give and take" ... eg. you need some help and roommate can help but only when they have time ........ so why don't you arrange a time when the 2 of you are free and do the funeral then? Or else have you told them how important it is to you and how much you'd really appreciate 30 minutes of their time? Or maybe you can do it later in the day when they are free .....

Know what I mean?


The Singlutionary said...

Iol -- you are right. I think the thing is that although this is something I really want to do, it isn't something IMPORTANT. If a relative died or my car broke down, people would make time. But I am not going to inconvenience people for this. There also wasn't a time that matched up with anyone -- I wanted to get the bird buried yesterday before she started to rot and we have limited daylight.

I think the thing that bothers me is that although I work so hard to build communities, I don't seem to have much community for myself. I am always the leader in support of others but I don't have too much support for myself.

And in that, you are right, I have to ask for it.

But I think that what I want is for other people to be engaged as well. Both because they knew and loved Little Beer and also because they think my goofy chicken funeral idea is engaging. I was alone in the entire experience.

Ms. Blasé said...

Reading about the death of your pet, even if it wasn't your favorite and even though it's been years since my own passed away, was difficult. As Anonymous said, they become like family. And sometimes, they, like God, are the only ones who are willing to listen to us.

I can totally relate to the whole lack of intimacy deal. Practically all of my closest friends have or are in the process of disappearing due to the acquisition of boyfriends, husbands and babies. During my most desperate moments, I find myself turning to FutureMe.org to write my future self e-mails since I rarely receive meaningful ones from those I know. Even still, I send out sentimental notes to "vanishing" buddies and continue to volunteer my time and talents to organizations because I know that my own presence and words could very well be what ministers life to another lonely and/or hurting soul. I have to remind myself that we are put on this earth to serve, not to be served and that so often the surprising after-effect of giving oneself away is an experience of joy and love unimaginable.

Miss365 said...

I'm sorry to hear about your pet. :(

But I had to wonder if I had actually written this post or parts of this blog another *another* alias and not realised because I completely understand where you are coming from. Which both excites me and saddens me at the same time. Excitement because my community of strong, quirky, fun, single female bloggers has expanded but sad because what you write about intimacy & asking friends to do those random things like chicken funerals with are far too true.

I'll be reading. :)

Ms. Blasé said...


Since I enjoy reading your blog, I decided to nominate you for the 7 Facts Award. Hope you will accept it :) Have a great weekend!

The Singlutionary said...

Ms. Blase! I look forward to checking out your blog and becoming a follower! Thank you for you comment and for the nomination! I definitely accept! I volunteer a great deal of my time to helping others as well -- as a way to fill the void. And although I find these things rewarding and are often a path to finding a strong community, they aren't the same as having a partnership with someone or a small personal community of friends & family. I will write more about this.

And Miss365! Thank you for your comment! I have found the strongest most supportive community through my blog -- but that community is not, at the same time -- a real life community that can "hold the camera" (so to speak). Still, it is rewarding. I will be checking out your blog too!

Anonymous said...

One of my chickens have jut died, and it's a very sad time :(
Please reply To this message if you have any ideas on what to do for funeral

Thanks xx

The Singlutionary said...

Anonymous, I am so sorry about the loss of your chicken. It is such a sad time. I let my other chickens out to attend the chicken funeral and gave them lots of good food afterwards. So basically, I had the funeral with my other chickens. I spoke about how good and cute and funny my chicken was and how she made my life so much better. I'm not sure that there is much more to do and I am sure that whatever you did is enough.