My neighbour is the proud owner of two goats. I guess they serve the purpose of animating his grandchildren. There are two fences between me and them. Sometimes they cry when they see me. Then I don’t know why they do so, although often I presume they might not have been fed that morning – or perhaps they want to talk to me.
Tonight I hear them cry. It’s cold but not too cold. What is too cold for a mountain goat? It’s going to be -10C tonight. It’s the second time within 10 days that I hear them cry late in the evening. Do they cry because of cold? Or because they have not been fed? They have this small shed, and I suppose my neighbour has given them a lot of straw to keep warm, and to nibble upon when hungry. But honestly I don’t know.
Should I phone him that something is wrong with them?
It’s already past 10pm. I don’t want to interrupt his sleep, or his evening rituals. It would be unconventional to do so.
Should I go and see for myself what is wrong?
I have to cross the two fences. I will have to say hello to at least one dog. Crossing a fence might be seen as a hostile act, especially in the night. I don’t want to be seen as a goat burglar. I’m afraid of breaking some unwritten rules. That would be unconventional.
Then what do I do if there is something wrong?
Suppose I go and see for myself what is wrong. And I find that their door is closed. I could open it for them.
If they don’t have food, they will have to spend the night without. I don’t have goat food. Would I go to my cellar and offer them 12 apples? These apples are for the kids. Another self made convention.
Being free means not caring about the little unwritten conventions to do the right thing. Apparently, tonight I’m lazy and not free.