INSTINCT

Scott Ryan

My neighbor just bought a rooster. Few things live up to “as advertised.” Usually cliches are not true. But at sunrise, believe me, that rooster says, “Cock-a-doodle-doo.” And it isn’t quiet. Also, they don’t just do it at the exact moment the sun rises. They give you some warning. They start about 15 minutes before sunrise. Then about every 40 seconds. They Cock-a-doodle-doo. This goes on for a while. The first morning, we were sleeping with the windows open. When that Rooster Cock-a-doodle-doo-ed I about laid an egg. Why is this the instinct of this bird? Shouldn’t an instinct be something that helps you survive? Wouldn’t announcing the sun, let your predators know exactly where you are? And where the hell do all the roosters have to be? Does their boss check their time cards that closely? Does it think no one should ever sleep-in? These were just some of the thoughts I had as this thing blasted his self-made music into my ear.


I eventually fell back asleep and forgot all about it. Until the next Cock-a-doodle-doo morning. This thing was not giving up. How had I forgotten about it all day? I cannot wake up for 30 minutes between 5:45 and 6:15 every morning. And If i picked up my phone and checked my email or Twitter feed, then I would never go back to sleep. All I could do was sit there and count the 40 seconds between doo-s. And the next day, same thing. That bird wasn’t quieting down.


Here is the thing. That was 3 weeks ago. The windows are still open. The sun is still rising. But I don’t hear it anymore. It doesn’t wake me up. I ignore it. In fact, until I had chicken for dinner the other night, I totally forgot about what happened. That is human. The human instinct is to ignore. No matter how loud the screams are, we can ignore it eventually. Racism. What a scream. But we ignore it after a while. Global warming? It’s coming, hole in the ozone. Ignore it. Health care. Wealth disparity. Banks are stealing from the poor and giving to the rich. Law enforcement agencies with no oversight. Ignore. Ignore. Ignore. You can Cock-a-doodle all day long. The very Human instinct is to ignore. To do nothing. To just sleep through it all and hope that it just all just goes away.




Scott Ryan is a writer living in Ohio.

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