Choose one that's plump.
Leave it on the counter because you read somewhere that it should be at room temperature. Risk your friends' health by doing so.
Turn the oven on to 375 degrees.
Wash your hands.
When you remember it, take the plastic off the chicken, remove the giblet package and rinse the chicken under cold water, inside and out. Think funny thoughts when you see the water come out the other side. Wonder how you can think funny thoughts at a time like this.
Look frantically around the kitchen for the paper towels, trying to remember where you last saw them. Give up and use a paper napkin and pat the bird dry.
Take out a frozen stick of butter. Melt it in the microwave. Yelp when you pull the bowl out of the microwave because even though you have done this 435 times you still like to take a chance that it won't be hot.
If you're feeling fancy, get some sage out of the garden. Rinse it off and wonder if it's really getting clean as the water doesn't seem to be penetrating the leaves.
Add salt and pepper to the melted butter.
Wash your hands.
Loosen the skin on the breast meat and insert the sage leaves on the breast. Only push them so far because you're grossed out by what you're doing. Brush the melted butter all over the chicken. When you flip it over notice that it looks like the back of your infant daughter in her first bath.
Wash your hands again. They're very greasy.
Find the string. Pull off a couple yards of it. Cut it.
Criss-cross the legs and wrap the string around the chicken's ankles. Wonder if that's the right word. Continue to wrap up the chicken with the string, making sure the wings are close to the body. Admire how well you truss a chicken.
Set the chicken aside while you chop carrots.
Lay the carrots side by side across the bottom of the roasting pan, creating a rack.
Place the chicken face down on top of the carrots. Put it in oven and roast for 20 minutes.
When the alarm goes off, don't hear it because you are reading an article on Huffington Post about Sarah Palin. Realize you haven't heard the alarm when you head back to Yahoo to check your mail and go into the kitchen to turn the bird.
Notice that the breast bears the imprint of carrots and wonder if that will change as it cooks.
Reset the timer and forget to check at half hour intervals. Know that it really doesn't matter.
Baste it when you do remember.
Revel in the beauty of the browning bird every time you check it.
Go outside to look for the dog who has escaped the yard. When you bring her in enjoy the smell of the roasting chicken.
Overcook the chicken because that is how your beloved likes it.
Take it out and let it rest. Wonder if it hasn't been resting the whole time anyway.
Cut off the string and if alone, suck on it briefly and then discard.
Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a small platter known only to you as the Chicken Platter.
Wrap it in aluminum foil.
Drive while your beloved holds it on her lap.
Realize that you are one pair in the history of the human family that is traveling some distance to comfort someone with the gift of food. Imagine sorrowful couples coming on foot, by camel, trains, coaches, cars and horseback to visit grieving friends.
After her husband opens the front door and you see your friend who has lost her son hold her for a long long time. Offer her the roasted chicken.