DEAR ABBY: A former colleague recently moved nearby and sent us an invitation to dinner at her new residence. She lives in an area that's populated by wild peacocks, which she knew before she moved there.
A condition of her invitation is that we (my spouse and I) agree to use a type of high-powered water gun to shoot at the peacocks from her balcony while we are visiting. I understand that these birds can be messy (I assume from their droppings). However, we find conditioning the visit upon our willingness to shoot water at the birds disconcerting.
Because we find this activity distasteful, should we decline and state why, or accept but make clear that we won't participate in the fowl-watering activity? How does one handle this tactfully? -- NO FOWL PLAY IN FLORIDA
DEAR NO FOWL PLAY: Because your former colleague invited you with the expressed understanding her guests will be expected to "fowl-water," which would make you uncomfortable, politely decline the invitation. If you feel you must pass judgment on shooting at the peacocks, all you need to say is you prefer not to shoot at any creature that can't defend itself.