The American in Full

Exercising the democratic privilege of the sovereign franchise for his first time just a week after his eighteenth birthday, Aaron manages to make an American experience even more so by rushing straight from his baseball game to the polling place.

I could be neither more proud nor more grateful.

Post Meeting Snack

Finishing up the Thursday night troop meeting around 8:30, we were both starving and I was way short on calories.

The sidewalks roll up early in our little beach town, so we found ourselves at IHOP. Unperturbed, Aaron ordered up two full entrees: T-bone steak and eggs, and tri-tip ends and eggs. And yes, he ate it all.

He probably ate five times the calories that I did, but I’m 55 and on maintenance and Aaron is 17 and bulking up for baseball season. He can get away with it.

As an aside: there is nothing like bonding over diner food.

Kick-Back Stack

Sunny’s eyes just about came out of her head when the waitress at Kick Back Jack’s set these monster blueberry pancakes down in front of her.

My dear wife had her revenge, though: she made it through about 80% of this massive stack, then jumped back into the car and drove another four hours.

Never underestimate the ability of a thin person to make food just seem to disappear.

Twelve Miles Uphill, Before and After

Sunny dropped us at the beach at Sycamore Canyon around 9am. It was a later start than we would normally like, but as it turns out it was a good thing we were rested.

The twelve mile uphill hike wasn’t particularly strenuous, except for a portion where we gained about 600 feet in a mile, and that was only a challenge because it was after 8 miles and 2:40 of steady walking up slope without rest. What is more, Aaron keeps up a steady 3mph pace with a full day pack, so it was a bit more than a leisurely stroll up Sycamore Canyon.

In theory the last four miles should have been an easy downhill stroll to the 101, but fatigue was starting to set in, and even the kid was audibly relieved when our stopping point hive into view as we crossed the freeway.

By the end we had taken a bit over 4 hours to walk the 12 miles, but we had crossed the Santa Monica Mountains, burned 2,000 extra calories, and started our training program for the big prize: the John Muir Trail.

Son vs. Sandwich

Sadelle’s turkey and roast beef triple-decker is not a sandwich to be taken lightly. There is at least two pounds of deli meat, a half-pint of coleslaw, and six slices of bread on this beast. I don’t want to think of the calories.

A half portion did me in, but Aaron managed to destroy the entire sandwich in a single sitting. It was a remarkable thing to watch. Had he been older or less athletic I would have feared for his health. As it was the only ill effect was an instant need for a long nap and a very late dinner that night.

All of this is provocative, though. The primary focus of the Las Vegas food scene seems to be excess, and quantity is the easiest way to go, from all-you-can-eat buffets to cocktails served in Big Gulp® cups to man-versus-food restaurant entrees like these. Watching my son chew his way in one sitting through the daily caloric intake of a small village, I was struck by how ordinary scenes like this have become in the US. Gluttony may be a deadly sin, but it is a common vice in our lives.

This deserves more thought and more room, so I’ve started gathering string for an essay on big food. Please share thoughts.

Define “lonely…”

The wife and kid have been in China for four days. I’ve been alone and on vacation the whole time.

After one day I was talking to myself. After three days I was talking to my wife’s stuffed animals.  At the end of four full days, they had personalities.

It was at that point I realized I needed human companionship, got dressed up, and spent the day hanging out at the club talking to real people. That, and a couple of Manhattans, brought me back.