Saturday, February 7, 2009

With a Chick Chick Here

I've been reading some of my old journals lately, enough to have decided that I'll ship these rather than junk them when I leave. So I should probably move on to a more necessary project, but it's hard to ignore recollections of memories you no longer have, descriptions of people you can no longer envision, an exciting time of junking the corporate career with no employment in sight and further exploring old and new interests in nature, women, dance, paganism, writing, counseling, running, cooking, volunteering. My visit to New Orleans had helped shake me loose; college friends visiting me had helped redefine relationships. Rereading, I'm finding I knew myself and others better than I realized twenty years ago.

Today's an anniversary--the date I accepted a job with a small college where I'd remain for ten years, by far the lengthiest employment in my history. At some time while I worked there, a researcher began doing experiments on chickens. A few of us raised enough questions to get a meeting with him and the head of personnel, a good woman who used a loom and missed men with long hair (mine was close to my waist at the time, and at this point I find it more of a surprise to recall that I had a waist), a meeting which served no real purpose except to mark us as prime suspects if the chickens disappeared.

Oh no, we're not really hurting the chickens. We just attach this there, and keep them here, and don't let them do that, and we've got a big grant from the government, and we're gonna make the world a better place. I'd sometimes hear a flat of chicks arriving at the mailroom, their peeps filling the hallway to my office; sometimes hear of the ones who arrived dead in their tiny cardboard cubicles, their life of days over.

I thought of quitting, and knew there was no escape.


The Vegas Vegan said...

I recently came across an old journal that documented some memories from college I didn't know even existed... it was weird, like reading the story of someone else.

My first "introduction" to animal research was through a project for a social participation class in high school. My partner & I decided to research animal research at the university. We even secured an interview with the head of the vivisection department!

Our initial research (which included watching Peta vidoes among other things) frightened us as we prepared for the interview. How would we act as objective questioners when we were already so emotional about the topic?

We did manage to get through the interview w/o debate, the doctor was very helpful and encouraged us to continue to learn about "research." Looking back on it, he probably thought that we were both very smart young women who may have had a future in science, that he had somehow inspired us to take on a career path that has a low female count.

He obviously didn't inspire me to become a scientist or doctor, he did inspire me to take a hard look at what went on. And he left the impression that maybe some of the people that do "research" on animals aren't bad people. Like you, there's no escape.

greentangle said...

Yep, memory's a funny thing. Like you, I'm finding experiences written down I don't remember at all. But also finding things like referring to someone whose name I didn't remember 20 years ago, and I'll now know who it is and write in her name (because I won't remember again in 20 more years). I'm glad I have a journal to reread but I wish I'd started about 15 years earlier.

Wonder if a couple hs kids would be able to do that today without an FBI check. I used to go on a no longer allowed snowy owl tour at Logan airport.