Creeping up and down the rows, speeding up when you see tail lights blink on and slowing down again after realizing the driver has just pulled in or, because they are waiting for someone and have no intention of moving, or there’s a dog in the driver’s seat. A rush of excitement courses through your veins when you see an opening between two cars three rows over and you drive as quickly as reasonably possible, sometimes unreasonably if you’ve been trolling for a spot for a while, only to have some other person, usually someone who just pulled into the parking lot get there first. ARRRRGGHHHH!! Finally, no new cars in sight, an opening appears, and you slink forward surreptitiously so as not to draw attention to your plan, no one is getting there before you, you are determined. Ten cars, five cars, you’re right there and delightedly start pulling in only to find a chicken in your spot.
The chicken doesn’t have a car. It doesn’t need to go grocery shopping or take the boiling children swimming in sweat in the back of your SUV to the pool. It doesn’t even need all that space! Now it’s not the broken AC making you hot; it’s the chicken. HOW DARE SHE! WHAT IS SHE DOING IN YOUR SPOT!! There are only two options, a mysteriously shopping-free chicken dinner, or you can wait. There is the third, very unappealing, option of parking there in the middle of the row, turning off the car because you have to since the lock is broken and it locks you out automatically, and since you can’t trust your tiny children who are more puddle than people at this point to open it again if it does, you imagine flapping your “wings” and squawking until the curiously indolent fowl decides to meander away at its own pace, something it would have done eventually anyway if you had just waited. So you sit, unmoving in the middle of the row and wait.
Stewing in an already hot car isn’t fun though so you begin to wax philosophical. This chicken in your spot is a metaphor for life. How often are we ready to pull in to an opportunity only to find that we need to wait. Perhaps we are ready, but the opportunity isn’t ready for us. Maybe the chicken has been sent to teach us the patience we will need to be successful in our endeavors. Perhaps the chicken is a reminder to us that we can not take for granted what we think we see in our future if we have not first prepared the path. Lost in thought in an attempt to stem the rising tide of your frustration you barely hear the drops tapping the roof of your car until it becomes a deluge and the chicken quickly scurries away. You pull in and wait for the brief storm to pass just happy that you hadn’t gotten all your snacks, bags, dry towels, and wet children out yet.