A Lost Rooster, An Amused Crowd
A few days ago I came across a rooster wandering the alleys of the Old City in Bucharest, Romania. It looked utterly confused and lost. Immersed in the busyness of rush hour foot traffic, the rooster unknowingly became a sideshow for the passerbys. People took to their phones to snap their proof of the strange event, sharing laughs amongst their friends and pointing in joyous disbelief. Meanwhile the rooster was evidently clueless as to why he was in the street or where he'd made his wrong turn in the first place. The confusion resembled a lost child at a crowded amusement park - a situation so alien and hectic for a kid that they quickly become overwhelmed by a grand flood of emotion. The difference here is that a lost child won't garner any laughs from the people passing by. People will reach out and help.
Reality is much different for the rooster. I witnessed the franticness of its gait and the fear that swept over the poor bird when a young girl in a sun yellow skirt walked toward him and knelt down to take a closeup video for her Instagram. It's so easy for me to interact with the emotions of a dog, perhaps because that's the animal that I know best. But I'm pretty convinced now that if I spent more time with a rooster we'd get to know each other pretty well (a quick Google search reveals that chickens do feel emotion https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5306232/).
I'll admit, when I first saw this rooster walking in the throng of Romanian rush hour I was quite amused. I even reached for my own phone to capture the moment... but then I stopped myself when I thought about what was really happening here. This is the creation of joy at the expense of another being. The thought cascades from there... Good and evil. Right and wrong. Funny and sad. Is this what people mean when they say that the universe exists in a balance of opposing forces? That one cannot exist without the other?
Out of my element in a foreign country, I couldn't think of anything to do to rectify the situation for the rooster so I continued walking. Later in the evening I returned to that same street and the rooster was nowhere to be found. It's nice to think that he found his way home, but one can never be sure...