Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Thursday, August 14, 2003 Gridlock
There are a couple of things in favor of living in Minneapolis rather than New York City, over and above the fact that we have electricity right now. One is that you can still smoke in bars here. Another is that during your lunch break, you can generally count on getting through any given traffic light in one cycle. Maybe two.
And then today I spent about a half hour trapped on France Avenue just north of the Crosstown, which gave me plenty of time to remember that I don’t smoke anyway.
The traffic jam wasn’t cause by any road construction, or an accident, or a cop pulling someone over on the bridge. It was just that the timing on the traffic light was all bollixed up. It would go green long enough to let maybe four cars onto the bridge. But there was only room for two of them, because the traffic light letting people off the bridge was bollixed up too. It was basically gridlock without a grid.
Normally in this situation I’d just turn off the street and find some way around. But on this particular stretch of France Avenue, there aren’t any turnoffs. Well, there are, but they only lead directly into people’s garages. I suppose I could have pulled into someone’s driveway, asked to use their phone, and called for an airlift, but I doubted my employer would pay the expense just to get me back to the office on time.
And then there was the option of jumping the curb and off-roading across fifteen or twenty immaculately manicured Edina lawns. But given the way some residents in Edina can be about their yards, those people would have thrown themselves under my tires to take me down. This course of action would have made about as much sense as yelling at a DEA agent to get out of your way because you’re late for a drug deal.
So I sat there like a cow in a slaughterhouse chute for thirty minutes. I wasn’t even supposed to be there; I’d only scampered home because we had a site visit today and I forgot to wear a tie. At least the traffic jam gave me time to put it on.
But did I remember to do that while I was waiting to get through the intersection? Oh, you give me too much credit.
* * *
Today’s lunch was the second of the two Hungry Man™ dinners I had in the freezer. The first one worked out pretty well because part of it was an ear of corn, which the freezing and microwaving processes had rendered totally inedible. That left me with a portion of chicken and potato shrapnel that made for a filling, but not intimidating meal.
The one I had today was called “Backyard Barbecue.” When I chose it out of the freezer at the store, Trash said, “I bet it tastes just like that, too.” She was half right. And not about the barbecue half.
I got four slabs of ersatz beast-flesh coated in enough barbecue sauce to cramp the taste buds of, oh, Tennessee, and infused with a massive dose of liquid smoke flavor. Alongside it was a tub of a mashed-potato-like substance. So the food wasn’t that great, but at least the portions were large.
By the way, if anyone knows how to make mashed potatoes on the grill, I’d be curious about the procedure.
I do appreciate the message on the box: “Refrigerate any unused portion.” In other words, “Nobody says you have to eat it all in one sitting, you freaking glutton.” You won’t see that on a Lean Cuisine™. Perhaps I would have stuck the rest in the break room fridge when I got full, but since I share two home-kitchen-sized appliances with over a hundred other people, it didn’t seem practical to just toss an open tray in there. Things have a way of getting tipped out onto the floor. I know because I tipped someone’s lunch out once, and watched in horror as it landed top down, lid off on the tile. I didn’t know whose it was and no one else was there, so I scooped it up and replaced it with an anonymous note of apology and a five-dollar bill. I’d hate to put anyone else in that situation, especially since I got a twofer deal on the meals in the first place.
So I just kept putting it away. Slowly, gradually, over the course of a half hour, beyond full, beyond sated, until I was so bloated I couldn’t reach my keyboard. I am no longer a Hungry Man. I am a Sleepy Man.
Last week I overheard someone in the break room talking about how a Hungry Man™ is just the right amount of food if he adds a salad. Dude must have the metabolism of a mosquito. Or he only eats once a week. Either way he’s on his own. I have failed to join the Hungry Man demographic.
As failures go, that’s one I can live with. posted by M. Giant 3:46 PM 0 comments