This sounds like the beginning of a joke, but today I watched a chicken cross a road.
My walk to work takes me through the outskirts of the CBD, and I cross my town’s main arterial road. It’s busy and bustling and not particularly salubrious, and there’s not a lot of beauty since the city council chopped down the jacaranda tree that gently shaded one corner. Today, though, there was a flash of – slightly bizarre – beauty, because there was a chicken. I’ve looked it up since getting home and decided that it was an orpington chicken: large, solid, with glossy black feathers as smooth as cat’s fur and with the sheen of polished ebony. It strutted across Hunter Street with the confidence of a creature born to lord it over lesser beings: a flash of surreal regality amidst a fairly bleak and un-beautiful urban landscape.
And here’s the thing: this chicken (really? a chicken? in the middle of a city?) paraded across the street with the arrogance of ownership and no apparent conception of the fact that despite its impressive size, the sweep of a single car could reduce it to bloodied mince and feathers in a heartbeat. And in peak hour, on a Wednesday – the middle of a humdrum working week – cars stopped for it.
What does the driver of the blue Honda think, when he or she pulls to a halt to give way to a chicken in the middle of a city street? How about the bus driver who also broke out of his schedule to watch the feathered lord saunter by? Or the P-plater whose music I could hear from my position on the street corner, taking her eyes off her mobile phone for long enough to jam her foot on the brake and watch the chicken cross?
Sometimes, I love people. And sometimes, life is weird.