Hong Kong is non-stop energy and excitement that gives the city its own pulse. The myriad of street vendors along the city streets hawk anything and everything they think might sell. Esoteric food offerings include crickets on a stick, fried snake, and almost live sushi. I decided to play it safe and order my chicken from a storefront; After all, the store had running water and paid a much higher rent, so these factors could translate into better quality food. When my chicken dish arrived the exotic surroundings of Hong Kong streetlife became a blur as I slowly realized I was chewing a gum-like substance rather than the chicken I had ordered. My jaw flexed and throat constricted as I frantically scanned for options on how to eject the grotesque bird-like contents that were in my mouth, and possibly many additional contents of my stomach. I managed to avert a puke-fest and cut open my chicken, it was all soft and gooey. My stomach turned and I was suddenly not hungry. I resolved not to eat chicken again while in Hong Kong.
Later that week there was a database crisis back in the states at Motorola that required me to get online at 3am. From my hotel room I flicked on Hong Kong television while working, only to discover repeated soccer highlights on virtually every station. I finally settled on some sort of documentary on of all topics...the chicken industry. Have you seen how chickens come to the market? I stared in horror at my screen for a number of reasons. The chicken coops were displayed with the birds are packed into cages barely bigger than their bodies. There were tubes affixed to the chickens so they could be pumped with food. They squawk and peck and crap all in the same 2 foot by 2 foot cage until they are ready to get harvested for the market. I hate zoos, cages, restrictions, rules, containment of any kind. I have always thought that if you look a bird in the eye, you can tell that it would gladly peck you to death if given the chance. Combining the close-up look at their constrained, filthy lives, along with my general dislike of birds, and my bubble gum chicken dish, I decided I could do without chicken for the foreseeable future.
That future without chicken is still going. Chicken has ceased to become food to me. It is more of a novelty to watch other people eat it. It doesn’t gross me out to watch, it just seems like people are eating a piece of paper or a handful of dirt…my mind processes it the same way “Why are you putting that non-food into your mouth?” I have no scientific evidence to prove this, but I no longer get headaches, have a lot more energy, and require less sleep, all since I have stopped eating chicken. And yet still, I tried several times to eat chicken wings again because they were a big hit with me back in the chicken eating days. Each time I have to either spit out the first wing, or after about 5 wings my stomach starts to turn. Perhaps I no longer produce the enzymes to process chicken meat. I think my body is trying to protect me from eating the devil’s bird.