Thursday, June 17, 2010
I was encouraged by a coworker to lunch at The Missoula Senior Center which also happens to be conveniently located just across the street from my work. I had originally thought that The Senior Center was a kind of exclusive club for old people, and being not old, I was unwelcome. Not true! While it is a type of club for old people, they are welcoming, and in fact eager, for young folk, like me, to eat there. Likely all of the old people there are tired of hearing ad infinitum the other old people's stories, and young people represent a previously untapped audience. The ambience is terrible, imagine your high school cafeteria with, well, more old people, but old people can't see well anyways so they probably don't mind the aggressive commercial lighting.
However, the food is more than able to compensate for the lack of mood or padded seating. The menu is a rotating one of home-cooked goodness. When I was there polish sausage and sauerkraut were served. When the old man asked me "How hungry are you son?" and I responded "Very" and ever increasing pile of "goulash" was heaped upon my plastic plate. When I asked what was in it he said, "I don't know," and you know, after eating the entire pile of it, I don't know either, but I don't much care. It was delicious. While the entrees are a la carte the side salad of, surprisingly, mixed greens and no iceberg lettuce, and desserts are served buffet style. I had cherry cobbler that was really just perfect, buttery brown sugar and just enough crunch. The value is also unbeatable. All of this for $5 and milk, coffee and lemonade are complimentary.
Not used to the social atmosphere of The Center, I elected to sit alone. A decision which I soon realized was wrong and I now regret. Having a particular dearth of old people in my life, I realized that I had missed an opportunity to hang out with some. It is now my goal to eat there at least once a week for a good home-cooked meal and some geriatric socializing. There's even a thrift store in the basement so if you need to pick up a new Harlequin novel, belt or costume, it's a one-stop-shop. It's very much like Cracker Barrel, just better.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
For the next few posts I will write about things, other than swimming, biking and running, because, as much as I love them all, they, at times, do become monotonous. Stay tuned for a travel blog, an automobile test, a restaurant review and other generalized commentary on things which amuse me. (Please note that I have little to no experience or authority to comment on... ...anything and will likely enrage several people. Please accept my future apologies.)
Monday, June 7, 2010
Montana, as far as states go, is not comfortable. She is harsh and often cruel, with her relentlessly overcast skies, burning summer sun, massive mountains, vast expanses of space, temperatures which are rarely nominal, soul piercing wind, and fire-driven summers, it is a place of extremes. Here there are few respites. The last time I lived here, I learned simply that any given worst case scenario will yield a good story, and usually some other boring life lessons.
Yesterday I participated in my first cycling race, the Cow Country Classic. It did not go well. Actually, it went worse than that, it was abysmal, "having immense or fathomless extension downward." Nothing in the race went my way, and I caught no breaks (of either the luck or cycling variety). This happened for a few reasons, but as Homer Simpson would say, it's all just "loser talk", and while I am a loser in many ways, this is my blog and I don't really want to talk about that.
On to the race. I suppose I should first start by explaining why I would do a cycling race. Well, the biggest reason is that my goal is to one day be an ITU racer which entails a draft legal bike leg (as in bike racing) as opposed to the standard time trail style. While they seem somewhat similar, aside from being accomplished on two wheels, they aren't. I essentially spent the 50-mile race getting dropped from each consecutive group, unable to muster the power to stay with breaks (as lame as they were). Yesterday I dug more deeply than I ever have on a bike, then I did it again... and again. Having lost the two main packs of my Cat 4/5 start around mile 40, I spotted a slight Junior who seemed to be all feet and legs, maybe he could pull me to the finish? No, the 13 year old dropped me like his pre-algebra text book and I was all alone. I had gone supernova in a most dramatic fashion, and had I any energy at all, the black-hole left by my prodigious bonk would have consumed most of western Montana. I was done, alone in the Montana mountains, 10 miles from the finish, struggling into a headwind, and I decided to make the best of it. I sat up, tried to enjoy the scenery (which was amazingly beautiful), felt the sun and set about composing clever witticisms for this post. My leisure cruise was then interrupted by this:
a bunch of old men, the Master A's. As pleasurable as my ride was at that point, I wanted to be done so I tried to sit in and let them pull me back to the line. As they had started behind me this was, I think, technically illegal and I began hoping and praying for a lifetime ban from cycling. No luck. Then they dropped me. Then this caught me:
a bunch of slower old me, the Master B's. ...and left me.
Then I saw the 200M sign. Apparently most people start sprinting at this point but since I was in survival mode and hoping only for a good story, I was content simply to document it, which made some spectators laugh.
Relieved that the race was over and eager to end my humiliation and drink a cold beer, I set about the 5 mile commute from the finish line back to the race start. My humiliation, however, was not in fact over, the two Master A's I was following then dropped me on a little hill. I rolled in by myself, a fitting end to my day. Here's hoping that my next bike race will be sandwiched by a balls-out mile swim and a bleeding-eye 10K run, although I'm sure I won't be so lucky.
...and then Elliot fell asleep on the way home.