Wednesday, August 19, 2009

my last meal

Last Sunday, I took a personal retreat to the mountains. It was not an effort to explore my mortality or achieve a higher level of thinking. I had too many competing conversations in my head (it's ok, that's normal) that needed some room to wander and explore without having to focus on anything else. And for the most part, it was a productive exercise.

The weather was perfect. I optimistically hauled three journals and a laptop around, wandered through some gardens, stared, thought, read, wrote, stared some more, regretted waking up before double-digits appeared on the alarm clock to get an early start, started dozing, walked around some more, allowed my mind to chatter contentedly and eventually concluded that I had had enough fun and it was time to go home.

It was mid-afternoon, and I hadn't eaten anything except some peanut butter crackers. McDonalds beckoned. Since I was not on a retreat to discipline myself (though I'm certain that's not a bad idea for the eating habits of late) it seemed acceptable to indulge my Big Mac craving. Something about the Thousand-Island-look-alike sauce called out to me - despite several previous gastrointestinal episodes post-Big-Mac enjoyment (too much information?). I drove through the drive-thru, parked, read some more, devoured the two beef patties on a sesame-seed bun with lettuce soaked in flesh-colored sauce and smiled.

Then another, not unusual, urge struck while I pumped gas for my car: Combos. Typically these faux-cheese-stuffed, tubed pretzel creations are not temptations. When I'm driving miles and miles of busy asphalt and need to stop for gas, the Combo craving is overwhelming. So I bought a small bag and headed home.

As I careened down the side of the mountain, spurts of heavy rain dropping periodically from the sky, thoughts of a discussion with my husband about my tires probably being bald and a choreographed repetitive sequence of brake lights ahead, I didn't worry about what would happen when I died, what my last words had been to my husband on the way out the door or how I would react when my car inevitably spun out of control, into the highway divider and ended up facing the wrong way in traffic (exactly like the yellow pickup truck I had just passed). Nope. My thoughts were placid. A Big Mac meal and Combos were the ideal last meal. I could die happy.

I guess that's one way to achieve clarity.

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