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

Source: New feed

It’s true, just like they say, ‘everything’s bigger in Texas’. All the things one would expect to be bigger are indeed bigger…burgers, steaks, soda’s and platters of enchiladas. The friendliness of the people is bigger, the laughter seems bigger, the trucks are bigger (or is it the tires?). The music scene is bigger and so are the belt buckles. The Whole Foods is the biggest in the world and based on the snake I saw last week, they seem bigger too.

I suppose it only makes sense if I’m going to bonk on my bike, then I ought to expect the bonk to be bigger. ‘Bonk’ is a term used in cycling. It’s not something any cyclist wants to experience although most have at least once. To bonk essentially means to hit the proverbial wall…the body is depleted of fluids and energy and screams to stop what is known as suffering on a bike. Legs do not want to move, arms do not want to hold the body on the bike and lungs scream as if there is a plastic bag over the head preventing oxygen flow. It is not an enviable position. When a professional cyclist bonks in a race, they often get picked up in a car and are done for the day. When a regular run-of-the-mill cyclist bonks, he/she has to find a way to coerce their body into working just a little while longer which as a Texan might say,

‘that’s so hard it’s like tryin’ to bag flies’.

Today I bonked and because I now live in Texas it could only be a Texas-sized bonk. I didn’t see it coming but that’s the nature of ‘bonks’…they are sneaky. I left the house with cold water in my bottles and no hunger pains. I began the ride with the pleasant downhill, tail wind combination that doesn’t happen often but when it does it’s almost impossible not to smile. I reached the flatter roads and all was good…pedal, pedal, pedal, breathe, breathe, breathe…mile after mile the ride was great. Smooth roads, nice views and the lull of my rhythmic pedaling allowed my mind to wander, to think and not think. And then the first hint of what was to come…a slight incline and it felt as if the brakes were stuck. A stop at a stop sign and it felt as though the bike had gained twenty pounds, heavy and cumbersome and difficult to get started, the pedals cemented in place. More than halfway through the ride, I made the turn to head back home and the sun seemed bigger and shade was nowhere to be found. Within minutes I was struggling; my energy had taken the rest of the day off.

Just six miles from home the bonk had officially arrived. I had to pull over twice…each time bent over my bike gasping for air and negotiating with my legs to go just a little bit further; they ultimately agreed but only at a snails pace. I was trying to bag flies.

My Texas-sized bonk was worthy of my new home state; it was the biggest bonk I’ve ever endured and while my suffering was ‘Texas’ in size so was my laughter. The image of Clark Griswold in the movie ‘European Vacation’ driving in the roundabout and unable to merge came to mind. In the movie Clark, played by Chevy Chase, laughed hysterically because he could not get out of the roundabout and circled for hours while his family slept. Today I could not make my legs turn my pedals any faster and at that moment, despite the Texas-sized bonk I enjoyed some Texas-sized laughter. There was nothing I could do but be in the moment and shuffle my way home.

My reward for surviving my Texas-sized bonk and attempting to bag my proverbial flies: Just some of the reasons one lives in Texas…a Texas-sized iced-cold drink, a Texas-sized meal, a Texas-sized chair to sit and recover in while watching a Texas-sized sunset. And as they say in Texas,

‘that’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick’.

Thanks for reading,
~ Haven


Source: New feed