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The Peanut Butter Chronicles

In Which Gav Goes Shopping For Peanut Butter
And You Get To Come Along

It all started when we were chatting up Brent Bookwalter and Ted King. The happened to mention a rather desperate craving for American peanut butter. And not just any peanut butter, NY Peanut Butter Co. peanut butter. Faster than you could say "never doodsmak in Oudenaarde," we had A Plan. We would send Peanut Butter to Spain and fill their bare cupboard with scrumptious creamy peanut buttery goodness. Simple, really. Before any time at all had passed, the community had filled the Peanut Butter Fund to the brim. Community, so good. It remained only to procure some peanut butter and post it to Spain.

Below the fold, I go shopping. And you get to come along.

gav_toesbike_shadowOne fine Spring day, the sun shone down brightly on my fair city. The day had arrived. I grabbed my shopping bags, hopped on my bike, and set off to purchase peanut butter. I took the bike with the basket, natch. Because peanut butter is heavy. And I haven't learned to balance stuff on my head while riding a bike. My skills, they lag. I will try to improve.


After a short ride through town under the shining sun, I reached the grocery store. Did I mention the weather was awesome? It was awesome. And Springlike. I picked the big grocery store, because I thought it would have the most peanut butter. (Yes, every building in my town has a red tile roof. It's just the way it is) I dodged the people parking in the parking lot and slalomed through the stray shopping carts. Then, I pulled into my parking place right near the door. Bikes are good that way.I locked my precious machine. Did I mention the wicker basket? Very precious.


Into the temple of consumption, I ventured, visions of peanut butter dancing in my brain. Does peanut butter dance? I'm not so sure. We'll just pretend. Where was I? Oh, yes, walking into the super-sized grocery store . Really, I don't know why these things are so large. My legs get tired just thinking about it. Past the hot foods (like, since when did the grocery store cook entire chickens?), past the wine aisle (Mmm, wine), past the summer fun zone (really, do we need quite so many floaty toys on the planet?). aisle

At last, I came to the peanut butter aisle, which was stocked to the brim with, well, peanut butter. Like duh. I learned that there is a lot of peanut butter in the world. And some of it doesn't look very tasty. I skipped all that stuff. I could not be bothered with inferiority. I was after only the very best. pb_basketReading my way through the labels, I reached my destination. Down on the third shelf, really quite close to the floor, there sat the coveted jars. I stooped down to get a better look, awed at the sight of such peanut buttery perfection.

My goal achieved, I headed for the check-out. The line was long, the checker slow, giving me the opportunity to catch up with all the latest alien invasions and celebrity make-overs. It's shocking how many aliens inhabit the earth. Really, someone should do something about it. At last, my turn came. No, I don't have a club card, no I don't need a bag. I swiped my card and answered the questions. Sometimes, buying things is hard.


Then, I went back out into the sunlight with my bag of peanut butter at my side. I set it down gently and unlocked my bike. Then I performed the delicate dance required to balance the bike and pack the basket. The peanut butter safely in the basket, the bike still upright, I sped happily back down the road.

Next stop, the post office. It looks quite like it should be the Hall of Justice or something, all white columned and imposing. The slap of my flip-flops on the tiled postalfloor echoed in the arching ceiling. This would have been quite awkward in a library. Fortunately, this was not the library. I needed a box. And a customs form. I do like a good form, don't you? My luck was in. The post office had both boxes and forms readily available. So I took them.

Then, I pedaled home and with the help of my cat, I packed the peanut butter carefully in the box. I also added a couple secret surprises. Like cracker jacks, only different. Even bike racers need a few sugary snacks sometimes. I also filled out the form. It involved weights and measures. I got to sign my name at the bottom, which I did with a flourish. card1 G-a-v-i-a.

Next came the crayons. No care package is complete without a card. We needed to say thank you to our friends for coming to chat, and wish them good luck with all their bike races. So I got out my crayons and went to work. I used the red one and the green one, and a few other ones besides.

After I finished the card, I put the precious peanut butter in the box. I stuffed the box with newspaper to keep the contents from shifting in transit. I used the New York Times, who should be honored to perform such a vital function. I put the card on top, where Brent and Ted wouldn't miss it. With everything tucked safely inside, I taped the box tightly shut. I didn't want anything will get lost along the way.


Back to the Post Office now, I joined the line of people waiting to send their parcels, buy their stamps, pay their taxes, and send their money orders. I had a box bound for Spain. Fortunately, the line moved quickly and soon, my turn came. The postal lady weighed my box of peanut buttery goodness, stuck it with a big important stamp, and scrutinized my customs form with all the lines and boxes. At last, she took my box and sent it on its way to Spain. That's a long way for a box of peanut butter to travel when you think about it.

After the dim interior of the post office, the outside light momentarily blinded me as I exited. It was time for more bike. Really, the only thing I don't like about doing errands on the bike is the constant locking and unlocking. In my perfect utopia, I could leave my bike outside the post office and it would be there when I returned. Alas, this is not my perfect utopia, and the locking and unlocking is a necessary ritual.


Pedaling back up the street, it was time for one last stop. The up part, that's more directional. It's not really much in the way of a climb, just enough to make the final destination that much better. After all that hard labor, it was time for a reward, and I'm sure you know what that means.

Espresso! They had their house blend and a Guatemala single-origin. I went with the Guatemala. It was scrumptious. So, I sat with my espresso and watched the world pass along the street and sidewalk, all the people going somewhere to buy something or make something or just sit somewhere like me.