Ride to work supplies a few surprises

Published 5:40 am Wednesday, January 21, 2004

By Staff
I should've known it. I just should've known it.
One day last week I was drinking some coffee and looking over the morning paper. It's the typical workday morning ritual for me, just as I'm sure it is for a lot of y'all out there.
Most times, I can get through the paper in about five or 10 minutes. This time, because the paper had a couple of good, lengthy articles in it, I decided to drink a second cup of coffee. No big deal, I thought.
You see, it takes me maybe 25 minutes to get to work over in Dry Branch. So I figure, hey, I can drink the extra cup and its no big deal, because in 25 minutes I'll be strolling into a bathroom. Perfect logic, right?
Well yes, it was, except on this particular morning I pulled out onto I-75 South. I drove for a few minutes, then veered off onto I-16, and continued on my way to work. I passed the Centreplex, the Spring Street exit, and whipped around the first curve. And there, at that point, I did something else.
I stopped. Totally, completely stopped.
The problem was, my bladder was sending me a fairly urgent message that I needed to listen to it, but there wasn't a whole lot I could do. We were stopped cold, and cars were backed up as far as my eyes could see.
It's funny what you think about at times like this. At first I figured it was no big deal, probably something minor, and I was guessing I'd be back on my way in no time. And I kept thinking that, until about 15 more minutes passed, and I'd moved maybe 20 feet. At that point, I figured I might be there a little bit longer than I'd anticipated. And the message coming in from my bladder had grown a bit more intense.
And we were still pretty much stopped. I decided distraction was in order. I whipped out an Elvis cassette, and listened to him sing "Always on My Mind." I've always loved that song, and the way Elvis sings it. It's a nice mid-tempo song. And it really did help distract me, for the three or four minutes it lasted. The perfect song for my situation -- nice and soothing.
Right after it, a Chuck Berry rocker called "Promised Land" came on. No way you could miss it, the lead guitar player blasted out a spirited opening riff, and the bass just thumped. The drummer then kicked in, punctuating each pulse of that bass.
And those pulses were hitting me right where it hurts, and making my dilemma worse. And we were still a good five miles from the exit.
We began to move a bit more quickly, but it was still bumper to bumper. After 20 more minutes, I learned what the hold-up was. A semi full of newspapers had collided with a semi full of chickens. I kid you not -- there were crates of chickens all over the median, some still inside them, and some were running like crazy off into the woods to escape their fates. And even though by this point I had sweat beading up on my forehead, I had to laugh at a couple of guys who were running after these chickens.
They chased them through some pine trees, and I've never seen as many white feathers scattered over an area as I did on this day. Colonel Sanders would've been salivating if he could have been there. And once I got past all the debris, I found I could drive normally again as the road ahead was clear as crystal.
So I drove to work -- fast. Did I break the speed limit? Yes. Why would I risk that? I guess I figured a speeding ticket would be a whole lot cheaper and easier to explain that an indecent exposure rap. So I flew to work, ran inside my office, and went from panic to complete calm in about 30 seconds.
Y'all may wonder at this point just what is the moral of this story ? The truthful answer is, absolutely nothing. It's just not everyday that I drink two cups of coffee and then get stopped on the way to work because a semi full of chickens runs into a semi full of newspapers. And I decided I wanted to tell you about it.
Read me next week if you want a story with a moral.

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