March 15, 2012

A Cluck of Silence

These costumes don't fit like they used to...
After high ambitions at the beginning of the new year, The Cackling Hen has now been in the coop far too long. I made a semi-private resolution that I would write the Hen more often, with fear that a public announcement could set me up for public failure to put my money where my beak is. But I also semi-privately resolved to finish anything I started. No more half-finished work and half-baked schemes cluttering my home and mind! But this combination of resolutions backfired - I just never started any more Hen columns.

I've proven successful at my second resolution through doing nothing  more than finishing work, finishing snapping a picture, and finishing every drink. So now that the year is still new (it's still January something, right?) it's time to tackle that first resolution again.

After over six months on the road, many of us hens on ice are feeling the fatigue of so many months of flapping. We work the same circus, live in the same cages and travel in the same trucks. Under these conditions, it doesn't take much to start pecking at each other. After all this time on the road, I feel very comfortable with our cast of hens - a seemingly good thing. But with this also comes a nasty side affect - also feeling perfectly comfortable saying exactly what's on my mind, good, bad or ugly. On a recent day of three shows and seemingly incessant clucking amongst the hens, I only heard the ugly flying out of my beak.

When I got back to my cage, I realized that yelling at hens to shut their breaks before I smacked them with the show props maybe wasn't the best way to keep friends. So the next day, I publicly vowed to live a lesson most of us learn as children: If I had nothing nice to say, I would say nothing at all. I knew it would have one of two results: I would either have a much better day, or I would pen up anger all day until I exploded on the bus that night during our six hours of travel. Those expecting the latter suddenly wanted to sit close to me on our bus ride, and they brought their own popcorn.

My vow made for a much more positive day than the one before. I clucked about it to anyone who would listen so my fellow hens could keep me on track. The day started easy. Any slight annoyance I either kept to myself, or if I felt the need to say something, I took an extra moment to phrase it politely and adjust my speaking tone to that of a hotel reception worker. Even calling someone a bitch can come across as a compliment if I sound like a Hilton receptionist.

After a full day of shows and 6 hours of night time bus travel, no one got the brunt of my daily low blood sugar peck fest moments. Sure, at our 6 a.m. arrival to the hotel, I may have kicked my two suitcases in the room, slammed the door and clucked at alarm volume,  but I still completed my vow. Put that acheivement next to this column, which has me back on track with my new year's resolutions, and I've had a productive few days outside of work. Stay tuned for my next column - let me know when it's June.

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