On my way to work today, I found myself trapped behind a chicken truck on Sunset Blvd. (the one in West Cola, not the one in L.A.), from I-26 all the way to Columbia Farms.
First, for those of you who haven’t had this experience, banish from your mind any bucolic image of "chicken truck" as the Clampett mobile with several chickens perched up on Granny’s rocker. This is a tractor-trailer in which the full three dimensions of the trailer are taken up with individual cages — sort of a poultry skyscraper on wheels — with uniformly white and miserable-looking chickens on their way to their doom, with billows of white feathers and a foul stenching streaming off the entire load.
The rig was well ahead of me, but not so far that I wouldn’t end up inhaling its miasma at a traffic light if I didn’t either pull over and let it go well ahead, or pass it. The preferred method would be passing it, but since it was apparently doing more than 50 in a 40 zone and seemingly accelerating in that downhill stretch past Hummingbird, that didn’t seem doable without both a) speeding and b) getting closer to it with no guarantee of getting past it. So I hung back — and ended up directly behind it at the stop light at 12th St. Of course, I closed my vents.
And it was at that moment that I realized what I had been listening to on FM 102.3 since I had first come upon the truck. Yes, ladies and gentlement, it was Lynyrd Skynyrd’s anthem "Free Bird." Near as I can tell, though, none of the chickens were holding up their cigarette lighters as the song approached its climax.
The folks in charge of the soundtrack of my life have an affinity for irony, you see.
During the final instrumental portion, I turned off onto 9th St. So I wasn’t there for the chickens’ big finale.