Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The things we do for the ones we love

One summer when Dean was in graduate school, we spent close to two weeks tagging along with his thesis advisor and two of his fellow (male) graduate students and drove from Nebraska to Nova Scotia where the other grad. students were going to be doing their fieldwork.  Along the way we stopped and looked at every rock and discussed every geologic formation. Let me clarify that.  Along the way, they looked at every rock and discussed every geologic formation. In order to conserve our very limited resources, Dean and I and the other two grad. students shared a tent or motel room most nights. It was during this trip that I first learned that men will not share a bed with each other. They will sleep snuggled up together in a tent but won’t sleep in the same bed in a hotel room. Even if that bed is so large they would be sleeping in separate zip codes. Even if it means one of them has to sleep on the floor. It seemed a little weird to me then, and all these years later I still don’t see the reasoning behind it. Men will slap each other’s butts without a qualm. A quarterback will lean over and stick his arms very snugly in between the center’s legs. Sweaty, stinky wrestlers will roll around in a circle, wearing barely a loincloth and hug and grab each other in disturbing ways. And yet those same men will not share a bed.

We didn’t eat in restaurants very often because our funds wouldn't allow it. Well....that’s not completely true. It was more a matter of choice. Choice one: buy gas to go see that super cool geology formation/pile of rocks/gravel pit/rock shop/fault which is a bit out of the way or choice two: eat in a restaurant with a real wait staff. My vote never counted. (That's my memory of it anyway).  I happened to be five months pregnant on this trip and when my body said it needed to eat, it needed to eat now. One of those moments occurred while driving along an interstate in the middle of nowhere and the first opportunity to eat happened to be a McDonalds. Dean, ever disdainful of McDonalds restaurants, refused to eat at them.  He would (and will) eat at other fast food joints but not McDonalds.  Go figure.  Fortunately, he realized that telling a starving, pregnant woman to wait for something more suitable would not bode well for him so he pulled in, we entered and I ordered.  I don’t remember what I ate, but I do remember that instead of feeling a pleasurable sated feeling, I felt sick afterwards and consequently I also joined the "no McDonalds for me---ever" ranks. That was the last time I ever darkened the door of the golden arches. Until yesterday.

Yesterday I entered the favorite restaurant of kids the world over with Emerson, Myra and Pierce in tow. We were a procession of clutched hands, just like kindergarteners on a field trip.  We had just spent an hour at the park conquering the rock wall ...

and the scary see-through ladders.  We needed sustenance.   As we drove toward those revered cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets, chocolate milk and Happy Meals, the kids filled me in on the rules. We have to eat our lunch before we can play. Right, Nada? Right. But not ALL of it, Nada. We don’t have to eat ALL of it, just most of it. Right? Right, Nada? We can eat just half the hamburger. Just half of the hamburger is okay, before we go play, because that’s a lot. Half is a lot. Right, Nada? Right. Half is okay. We don’t have to eat all of it. Okay? Okay, Nada? Right.

31 years and eight months after my last McDonalds meal, I ate a burger from McDonalds with no post-consumption regrets (if you don't count my regretted fat intake) and way too many fries.  It’s hard to sit and stare at uneaten french fries nestled next to half-eaten child-size cheeseburgers without nibbling.   I had alot of time to nibble as kids came and went and new friendships were made and ended in the time it took parents to eat their own Big Macs.  Three happy meals (with toys) and 1½ hours later we exited the golden arches and headed home. There were chocolate chip cookies we'd made in the morning waiting for us. 


1 comment:

Art Elser said...

Well, the trip to Mickey Ds sounded like a lot of fun, as did the trip to the park. Glad this trip to the Golden Arches was not accompanied by your getting sick. You don't suppose being pregnant the last time had anything to do with it, do you?

Could you elaborate on some of the road cuts, rock formations, gravel pits, hills, fault lines, and other geologic formations you visited? ;-)

It could have been worse. You could have headed west. From Nebraska to the White Mountains in Vermont, there's not a lot of geology to see. Note that McPhee's book about the middle of the country, Crossing the Craton, is only 35 pages long compared to 125 for Basin and Range and almost 150 for Rising from the Plain. Heck, if you'd have gone west, you'd still be crossing Wyoming.

Wait ... hmmm ... maybe you are crossing Wyoming. :-)