Sunday, July 8, 2007

actually written on Friday evening, July 6, 2007

The Joy of Cooking says it takes 20 minutes per pound for a chicken to roast, but I’ve never found that to be true. It’s not even a good guideline. After leaving my 3.91 pound chicken in the oven for 80 minutes, I stuck the thermometer in and it only registered 150 Fahrenheit. 150! I tell you, they must have written that section in a drug-induced haze, or perhaps they just slapped it together at the last minute before deadline.

I suppose my ovens could all be crappy, or my habit of throwing copious amounts of vegetables into the roasting pan could slow the cooking time, or the fact that I do not let the chicken sit at room temperature so that its internal temperature reaches 70 degrees before I shove it in the oven could have some cooling effect. Perhaps I ought to use a more up-to-date cookbook in which they do not assume that you are willing to leave raw meat on the kitchen counter for a couple of hours before sticking it in the oven.

But I don’t, and now it’s past my bedtime, and I’m too tired to do housework, so I guess I’ll sit here and write instead while I wait for the chicken to be done.

I have been a little crabby all week, so when I left work today, I decided I would take the scenic route home. I was envisioning a route that would take me 10 or 11 miles instead of my usual eight, but once I turned off the beaten path, I remembered what I love so much about life and I ended up taking a very convoluted route that could barely be described as taking me home, except for the fact that I did end up home, eventually, 22 or so miles later.

Clare will be happy to know that this detour led me to two groundhog sightings. The second sighting was of a pair of them right next to each other, munching the clover. It was the first time I’ve ever seen two groundhogs together, unless I’ve seen two fighting somewhere, which probably wouldn’t have struck me as remarkable, and so I would have forgotten it. But these two were content to be together – as lovers or siblings or friends, I don’t know. But I decided to call them E and G. It seemed appropriate.

They were very happy until I stopped my bike to watch them, at which time they scampered off in slightly different directions, stopping after 10 or so feet to evaluate if I was really serious about standing there. They looked at me as if to say, “That’s a very good patch of clover, and we don’t want to leave it, but if you insist on standing there, we will suspect you of either of two motives: (1) you want to eat us for dinner or (2) you want to observe us and spread rumors about our forbidden love. In either case, we would insist on parting ways with you.” So I put my left foot back on its pedal and began to ride off, and they returned to their clover, peaceably.

Sometimes at lunchtime, a co-worker asks, “Did you ride your bike today?” and then I know that the world really doesn’t revolve around me, because if it did, all my co-workers would have noticed by now that I’ve only driven to work twice, and biked at least 25 times. When I answer, “Yes,” they say, “You’re so good.”

I immediately want to correct them. It’s not that biking doesn’t ameliorate some of my discomfort about living in the most resource-gobbling country on Earth (soon to be surpassed by China, the pundits say, but I imagine it will be another five decades or more until then). And yes, it’s beneficial to my health – except for that one time I broke my teeth. (That was September 12, 2001, and it was almost certainly a stress-induced crash, and so I don’t really think it counts – it would have been worse if I’d been driving a car.)

But I’m not sure my biking makes me “good.” See, they don’t know what goes through my mind when I’m biking to and from work. About half of my thoughts are along the lines of, “That idiot shouldn’t be allowed on the road/bike path/planet” – similar to what my thoughts might be if I were driving a car.

The other half of my thoughts are much more positive, and perhaps I will share them with the next coworker who tells me I am “good” for biking. “I don’t know about being good,” I would say. “I just ride so I can ogle all those other bikers’ fine asses.”


Dekalb said...

oh I certainly got a good laugh at your next to last paragraph. Hearing you dispense your wisdom upon the worlds idiots is always a treat.
and about your last sentence... I guess you've been riding behind me lately. Yes, I know, I said 'behind.'

ClareC said...

Groundhogs E & G!!! Oh Kiapita, let them have their secret love among the clovers! Then again, if you encounter them a second time, and if your phone takes pix - do snap us a shot will you?