In retrospect I suppose I looked as if I were lost, deep in contemplative thought or perhaps just lost.  Standing in the aisle studying the selections in front of me, I was attempting to make a decision amongst the myriad of choices.

Barbeque…Salt-n-Vinegar…Ranch…Sour Cream & Onion…and the decision was not simply to choose from the overly processed, computer-lab created and consumer approved flavors…there was also the decision to make of whether or not to choose potato chips and if so, plain or with ridges…tortilla chips and if so, flour or corn, baked or fried…corn chips and if so, big, regular, dip-size…and then the many varieties of orange in the Cheetos genre.

Since I now live in Texas and it is well established that everything is bigger, it only stands to reason that the aisle of potato and other sorted chips would seem about a mile or so in length.

Earlier in the day I had ridden my bike and dumped a gallon or so of sweat on the streets of Austin. My body was screaming for salt and I wanted junk…not healthy options to refuel my body, no…I wanted to sit and eat chips. So there I stood in my small home-town grocery store, depleted and dehydrated trying to decide among what seemed like 500 different bags of chips. And in that moment my energy-depleted brain cells were attracted to all the colors and marketing ploys on each bag. As soon as I thought I had decided, something else caught my eye.  There were chips that promised zesty flavors…spicy flavors…cool ranch and hot peppers…savory cheese…ginger, jalapeno, bacon and sassy (yes the bag said sassy) salt-n-vinegar. I was frozen from an abundance of choices.

                                      “Do you like what the artists have created?”

Wait…what? Did that guy really just say that? I think he did.  I had been aware of someone standing in close proximity to me but too frozen in ‘Choice Overload’ to notice.

Me:  “Sorry…what?”

Him: “Oh, just wondering if you liked all the choices…it’s like a museum isn’t it?”

Me:  “Yes…very much so but there are too many artists so it’s confusing to know what I really like.”

Him: “This aisle always reminds me of an over-indulged museum, they keep accepting artwork but at some point it begins to overwhelm itself and loses its ability to showcase the art.”

Me: “Ha ha ha…I agree…ha ha ha”

The Other Guy: “Oh it’s not that difficult, just do what you do when you’re with a woman, close your eyes and go for it.”

At once the witty guy with whom I was comparing bags of chips to works of art in a museum and I laughed out loud. We turned to see who had offered the suggestion of closing our eyes and going for it and we laughed louder. It was great advice and we both took it, each of us grabbing a bag relatively quickly while all three of us laughed: Me, the depleted, dehydrated junk-food craving woman; Him, the witty, artsy guy who cleverly pointed out the similarities between marketed chips and marketed art and, The Other Guy, 90 years old if he were a day, telling us to close our eyes and go for it.

                                       Is there any wonder I love my new hometown?

As I sat shortly after that devouring my choice of chips (Lays Sour Cream & Onion, plain without ridges in a bright green bag) they tasted better than ever.

It had nothing to do with the flavor.

Thanks for reading,
~ Haven

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