Monday, August 22, 2011

Fried Chicken

I drove down to South Nowhere on Friday to pick up Eli from Camp Half-Blood.

Seriously, it's far enough out of town that people could give you directions using tethered farm animals as landmarks.

There's nothing out here, except for the State Park. And that's a problem, because it's a 45-minute drive from our house, with highly variable traffic at rush hour (his camp ended daily at 5:00 p.m.). To have a buffer, I always left at least half an hour early, which meant I had nothing to do except sit in a state park in one bazillion degree weather for 30 minutes.

On Friday, though, I had a plan.

Instead of leaving half an hour early, I was going to leave a full hour early. Then, instead of stopping at the park, I was just going to continue south on the highway, because there would surely be some kind of fast-food eatery further on down where I could sit in comfort for a while, secure in knowing that the camp was only five minutes away.

Three miles past the park, I drove up on a massive convenience store, and with it already looking like, well, hell, I decided to call off the search for comfort and went inside.

When I say a big store, I mean big. So big that it had a Subway, a taqueria, and a fried chicken stand inside.

And folksy crafts. Can't forget those.

Well, it's just half an hour or so, and at least it was air-conditioned. I bought a drink and made camp at a table next to the Subway.

After a few minutes, a fellow sat down at the table behind me, and he had a little paper carton with fried chicken.

This poor guy. He was wearing work boots, and he had sweated through all his clothes. He looked exhausted, and the fried chicken couldn't be helping--it might have been older than he was, based on its appearance. Still, though, he was eating it, with the determination of a man forced at gunpoint to dig his own grave.

After about ten minutes, he got up and walked back toward the bathroom, then passed me later on his way out of the store.

I decided to go to the bathroom before I went to the park, so I headed back. There were two urinals, and as I unzipped to do my business, I took a quick look over at the other urinal, which was unattended.

There was a half-eaten piece of fried chicken in the urinal.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Hamlet Act 1, scene 5, 166–167

With one fleeting image, the foundation of my entire worldview collapsed. I cannot comprehend a world where people leave pieces of fried chicken in urinals.

Now, anything is possible. Could I fall in love with a goat, or could a giraffe practice law? My answers have gone from "impossible" to only "unlikely."

Even more disturbing than seeing the fried chicken was considering the possible scenarios that put it there. I could only think of two:
1. Man was peeing with one hand while holding the piece of chicken in his other hand. He dropped the chicken.
2. Man was peeing, finished eating the chicken while he was still peeing, and was too lazy to take the piece of chicken to the trash.

Either one was my logical apocalypse. What kind of man takes a piece of chicken into the restroom with him? If he cared enough to take the chicken, wouldn't he hold on to it firmly? With a death grip, even?

I can't even comment on #2. That's a pun.

I called my friend Mike, who often gives wise counsel in matters such as these. He presented me with a heretofore unconsidered third scenario:
3. Man was peeing while holding the piece of chicken in his mouth. For what ever reason, he dropped the chicken.

I don't know what's more disturbing--the fact that a man could be holding a piece of chicken in his mouth while he urinates, or the fact that Mike came up with another scenario that seemed the most likely.

Yes, I hate myself for not taking a picture.

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