The Muffin Man

QUICK ANNOUNCEMENT – My tour tea towels (dish towels for the yanks) are now available for those who have dishes and would like to remember this tour when they dry their dishes. Here are two pictures, one to show you what the towel looks like, and the other to prove it works. The towels have the names of all my show hosts on the trip (with the exception of a few set up recently) If you would like one, or more then one, please click this linkto learn how to order one.

Recently I was biking in the dark trying to make it to Taihape on the north island. It had been a mighty long day. I had 4 days to bike 420 km from Raumati South to Rotorua, a fair portion across a desert, and my poor Beowulf was falling apart  making the riding very difficult and frustrating. It was kinda like trying to go for a swim in ski clothes. If I had read anything about cycling before leaving I would have learned that you wear out your chain and disks, especially if you’re carrying a big fat load, but I kinda figured “it’s a bike. it’s got wheels and a seat. Ya sit, pedal, dismount and repeat.”

On the night road I found myself chewing large mouthfuls of a blueberry muffin in time with my pedaling as I climbed a hill, a hill which I was sure was going to be my last of the day, but as I’ve learned it’s never your last. “Thou shalt always be surprised by arriving at your destination.” That was my rule. I have not followed it. I found myself sometimes chewing in between the pedals stroked, while other times it would fall right on the beat. I sloshed and tumbled the floury amalgam around in my mouth trying to take comfort in the sweetness. I was trying to understand why the muffin was in my mouth. I was not hungry. After the eggs on toast with bacon and grilled tomato, 2 scones, 3 sandwiches, 2 muffins (not including the muffin at present), a chicken burger (no mayo), a Popsicle, 2 oranges, 2 apples, a pear, a tamarillo, 3 fejoia’s, 2 plums, a cup of soup, a personal yogurt, a venison pie and a small bag of nuts I was not hungry (I wrote it down that day), but I chewed on. I chewed on.

I have found myself eating for all sorts of reasons on this trip other then hunger. I eat because it’s an excuse to stop biking for a moment, because I think I deserve a reward for having biked a certain distance or just working hard, because I don’t know how far the next town will be. I eat something because it reminds of home. I eat because my mind rests on the flavor, the acid, the crunch, the challenge of dislodging the piece of potato chip from my molar and those are simpler thoughts then the rest. I take refuge in the simpler moments on this journey.

I crave fat and sugar and then I satisfy these cravings. My friend Rob told me about some expedition where a few dudes were crossing the arctic or some barren frozen moonscape and they couldn’t carry food with them on the journey. The most weight efficient and nutrient efficient substance was fat. They just had a big bucket of fat and they would eat portions of fat for their meals. I do not crave this. I do crave danishes, croissants, cookies, scones, muffins, bacon, chocolate, honey and the like. In fact, I reckon if I had the chance I would happily put those all through a blender with a good whole cream base and take it through a straw! Sometimes I look at a sweet and I think “I don’t need that nor do I want it”, but the spirit moves me and I reach and I spend and I chew. My legs want it I suppose. I can’t imagine it helps me get to the next town, but in that moment, that next scone, that 6th muffin seems a complete necessity. It’s beyond hunger. It’s a strange place where emotional, physical and psychological exhaustion confront the prospect of butter.

I understand people eating outside of hunger on a whole new level. I understand food as comfort on a new level and while I don’t feel I’m in danger of any lifestyle diseases around eating, I have a new appreciation and understanding for those who struggle in this regard. Food is mommy, a blanket, nana singing you to sleep in a cabin by the fireplace, golden hour in the meadow, your favorite television show, hand soap.

One thought on “The Muffin Man

  1. Dear Gid:
    You have flipped out but your writing has me giggling. I’m sure you’re just eating what you need to keep your energy high and your head screwed on tight. It will all work out in the end. And if you come back as a blob, I’ll run it off of you on the field.

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