November 10, 2002


You might think that a truck adorned with a huge, plastic rendition of a cooked chicken would gather attention. That it would stand out. That someone would notice a fryer riding shotgun on top of a rolling metal box.

You would be wrong.

I have to say, this does not surprise me.

Seems like we all go around sleepwalking through our days. We wake, we wash, we work, we sup, we sleep, we rinse, we repeat. Sometimes the details are different. We seek out unique moments and crave simultaneously the comfort of sameness and the surge of excitement that unpredicitablity brings.

But how, for the love of all things holy and sacred, do you miss a tin can being driven at high speed with a plastic cooked chicken adorning the roof and 105 real chickens swinging around inside.

Is it that we're mostly keeping our heads down in avoidance of the weird? Is it that we're so used to the bizarre and freakish aspects of society that this sort of thing fails to raise on our collective radar?

My bet: we just don't give a shit. Really.

I've written too many stories in which people were asked - if not begged - for any kind of unique details that they could pass on to describe loved ones, beloved belongings, favorite vacations, the snoring patterns of spouses, you name it.

And for the most part, they were unable to get past about the second or third adjective without repeating themselves. Or uttering a cliche.

I get paid to notice things for a living and then pass them along for others to notice. It's a great way to make a living. Not because it's fun - it is. Or because it's rare that someone gets paid to notice trends - it is.

But because I know that my being observant means more. It means job security. It means that as long as I keep my peepers open and my brain on receive, I should be able to find a place to work in society. Because everyone else for the most part has hung their "Out To Lunch" sign in the window and forgotten to turn it back to "Yes, We're Open!"

It is a constant source of amusement to me to hear people say, "My husband always forgets my birthday," or, "Another anniversary, another chance he'll remember two days late."

Isn't that a basic part of the puzzle, folks? Remembering shit? Didn't they start in heavy with that principle in about the third grade when the rote memorization of times tables was required? And not because it would make us better people. We needed to know this stuff, we weren't to question why 10 times 10 is 100. We just had to understand that if we didn't remember it, we were screwed. So we did.

Isn't that the same as remembering birthdays and anniversaries?

Isn't it the same thing as noticing a speeding chicken truck weaving through traffic?

Posted by Jeff at November 10, 2002 09:32 PM | TrackBack