no more free eggs for Mr. Neighbor

“Do you think that stone owl is passive-aggressive?” I asked my Patient Husband.

“What stone owl?” he asked.

“On the mailbox of the house next to the one where they’re selling the fresh eggs,” I said. “I drove by and saw him fixing a stone owl to the top of his mailbox, and I wondered if it was because he was tired of the neighbor’s chickens wandering onto his property.”

My Patient Husband began laughing.

Back when I lived in Brooklyn, the idea of someone raising chickens was…well, that’s what Old MacDonald did, e-i-e-i-oh, and not something real people ever did. As we all know, eggs properly are found in their native environment, in cardboard packages of twelve in the refrigerator section of the grocery store. The idea of getting them out of nests and chicken coops was a bit weird and unnatural.

When we went on our honeymoon, the first morning in the hotel, I heard a rooster crow and raised my head, and my Patient Husband whispered, “You heard that too?” You couldn’t get more exotic than that.

I digress. Now I live in out in the swamp and perfectly normal people have hand-painted wooden signs out by the road that say “FrESH EggS: $2” and own chickens that wander so close to the road that you ruffle their feathers with your backdraft when you drive past. They’re…okay, I’ll just say it. Playing chicken.

And, of course, people live next door to those people, and apparently affix stone owls to the tops of their mailboxes.

I said, “Do you think the guy just got tired of the chickens wandering onto his front lawn?” When my Patient Husband said it was possible, I added, “Maybe he could have a motion-sensor too.”

He said, “But aimed at about eight inches off the ground, and it plays owl calls whenever the chickens get close, but not the cars.”

You’ve got to admit: it’s brilliant in its own antifowl sort of way. If he’d played his cards right, he could have gotten a neighbor-long supply of free eggs, but maybe he just couldn’t deal any longer with chickens providing free fertilizer for his grass.

I remember that look on his face as I drove past as he stood alongside the road with his tools, hammering that owl into place to guard his lawn. It’s like an egging in reverse.