Monday, April 30, 2012

Meijer and the mountain bike noob

here's a headline you'll never see on TMZ.

"Bear Grylls weds "24 Hours of Moab" Champ TraciNell!"

first, I've seen what Bear puts in his mouth--my lips aren't going anywhere near that. and two: I'm not... proficient at riding a bike. no, seriously.

twenty years ago,* I happily rode a mountain bike to and from work on my favorite sidewalk. but then... (cue shudders of anguish from the horror!) tragedy struck. before I could scream out "BOB'S YOUR UNCLE!" (for my British pals) I was tumbling/flying/collecting gashes, scrapes, gravel embedded in flesh, blood, my body splayed unladylike under a parked Honda Civic, with a broken fingernail!!

that's right. I couldn't even navigate a 36" wide, flat, not-a-crack-in-site sidewalk! this has been a huge embarrassment/trial for me in my life. you wouldn't believe the discrimination against non-bike riders (in China), and the disdainful looks from the Camelbak-wearing cool clique at parties. sheesh, give a traumatized girl a break.

so with tanked self-esteem, and party invitations scarce, I accepted that I was a loser.

until I went to Meijer...

it's Christmas time, I'm in the DVD area looking for some last minute stocking stuffers, but all that's left are all 17 seasons of Barney (that plushie reptile creeps me out) and Chevy Chase's Vacation sequels--the bad ones (I didn't need to qualify that).

"I would like to look at your mountain bikes, if you please."

this statement from behind me, gives me pause. I look up to double check that I am still inside Meijer and haven't somehow been transported to REI (my fellow Star Trek geeks are working very hard on transporter tech, it could happen).

"my grandson wants one for Christmas to take back to college."

I nonchalantly turn to see who uttered such ridiculous words inside a Meijer--even I know there's no way a mountain bike would be caught dead in the superstore.

bingo. elderly gentleman, cart filled with water bottles, lycra shorts with butt padding, a book about mountain biking, fingerless gloves, and a helmet... for skateboarding.

my eyes travel from soon-to-be-despised grandpa's cart, to the man himself, flinging a leg over the bike a Meijer associate pulled out for him. it's a black jobber with orange flames, the lightning-bolt fonted words "HOT-WIRE" emblazoned across the frame, in multiple places.

klaxon alarms sound off in my head, the hair on my neck stands on end. no, not from the HOT-WIRE, but from Meijer crazy grandpa just a few yards in front of me. my hand lets Christmas electrocuted Chevy Chase drop back into the economy DVD bin, then grabs hold of my cart.

"don't spook the crazy," I whisper. "DON'T spook the crazy." I slooowwly back up my cart, as I watch grandpa's Dr. Scholl's loafer connect with the pedal.

and he's off! gaining speed, presumably to get in a proper test drive. I've reached a safe distance when grandpa and I both realize-- he has no idea the HOT-WIRE is equipped with hand brakes.

a blur of brown faux leather back pedals impotently. it's no good, impact is inevitable! for the love of humanity, someone stop him! I'm horror struck, flash backing to my own accident (on a real mountain bike).


several minutes later, and a corrugated DVD box/bin clean up, grandpa is at the u-scan across from me, lifting the HOT-WIRE high enough for the scanner to read the tag dangling from the frame. yep, never occurred to him to remove the tag and scan that instead of birthing a Christmas hernia.

what a noob.

*I have since gotten "back in the saddle," but I only ride on neighborhood streets, no sidewalks, and I'm always on alert for Honda Civics. I know they're out to get me.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Meijer and the kale club

I have crossed the line.

I don't know exactly how it happened... it's all a blur, like I'm in a scene from Memento or... Fight Club.  I'm looking in the obligatory mirror (but I'm not sweaty) and... I don't like what I see! *heaving sobs* (but no runny mucus ickiness). I crossed that hair's-breadth line from normal to crazy, sanity to lunacy, Drew Carey to Jim Carrey (is it the double Rs?). In short, I've become a health nut.


Like an idiot, I watched the documentary, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, asked for a juicer for Christmas, then on New Year's Eve headed for Meijer, driven by my madness (and Honda Odyssey) to seek out the Holy Grail of anti-oxidants--Kale.

Let the games begin. I grab a standard cart, no cool Mini-Cooper-esque double-decker cart for me, I'm shopping for Kale--in bulk. I head for the massive produce section, in my head mapping out, then rejecting where the glorious green could be.

I pass the first produce bag dispenser stand, surrounded by amateurs waiting their turn. pros like me know, never stop at the first bag dispenser, sink deeper into the produce ring, you will be rewarded.

I pull the tightly folded plastic bags, one, two, three, four(!) tear my bags and head off to the Land of Spritz--the area of so much fresh green that they get their own sprinkler system--aka Land of the Crazies.

I've blogged before about the broccoli hoarder, and the avocado aficionado and now, me--facing a crowd, all jockeying to snag Kale. Darn you, Netflix and New Year's Resolutions!

All the blood rushed to my unpainted toes (it's winter!), abject fear that Meijer--the superstore--would run out, and then what?! Maybe for lack of blood, my brain's usual super-ability to solve all of life's problems screeched to a halt. I had no plan B!

What happened next is an organic-green, rustling-plastic, pasty-white blur. Although... I do recall growling. But it wasn't me that kicked the cane out from that cry-baby "senior citizen."

At the check-out lane, I rubbed my throbbing scratched hands, licked my cracked lip (that was already winter-chapped, but I'm sure it looked wicked), then nodded knowingly at one of my worthy Kale-hoarding opponents in the next check-out lane.

He nodded back, knowing what I knew. "The first rule of Kale Club is: you do not talk about Kale Club. The second rule of Kale Club is: you DO NOT talk about Kale Club."