I was walking to work this morning, lost in my own thoughts as I strode through the less salubrious part of town when I noticed that the large black chicken (on which I commented on Wednesday’s blog post) was back, and had been joined by another large black chicken and an even larger black rooster. All three of them were plump and glossy and quite spectacular, and were rummaging around through the wind-blown leaves in the gutters of Newcastle’s arterial road with as much unconcern as though they were scuffling through their very own protected world. Secure in the knowledge of ownership and control over their domain, they completely ignored the irrelevant and very dangerous cars thundering past them within inches of the patina of their tail feathers.
Having seen at least one of these creatures once before, I’ve apparently become immune to their bizarre presence in a city scape – less a game of What’s wrong with this picture? and more a case of, Huh, there are three of them now. I wonder whether that morning meeting’s been cancelled…The man on the other side of the road, however, was somewhat less unfazed by the sight: he stood, his Crumpler messenger bag hanging stunned by his side, mouth slightly opened, staring motionless at the farmyard birds mere metres from him on the edge of a city street.
I’ve seen him around before, and he’s never made eye contact: a bigwig, all expensive suit and trendy bag (not that I’m knocking Crumpler – I have a Crumpler bag myself – but they are pricey, and hip) and shoes that have never walked through a kitchen teeming with maggots and the filth of human habitation and illness (mine, unfortunately, have – one of the many difficulties of a career in social work is the places I occasionally find myself. Never, never wear open-toed shoes if you’re an outreach worker). Today, though, perhaps astounded into the need for confirmation of the evidence of his own eyes, he looked at me, and I looked at him, and I grinned at his perplexity and he gestured wordlessly at the proud creatures going about their small business, and I spread my hands and shrugged, and he grinned back at me. And, just like that, two people who in all likelihood have nothing in common, who will probably never speak to each other, who almost certainly will never know each other’s name, connected for a brief moment over a trio of chickens.
Sometimes, the world is weird. And sometimes it’s nice.