Chapter 11 - "steak and sleep"

Even with the intake of overwhelming beauty, the day was getting long and my stomach was growling with pangs of hunger. We decided to drive as far as we could on the tank of gas we had and to finish out the day with a thick, juicy steak. I had that slab of meat dangling in front of me for nearly 8 hours of hungry driving. We hadn’t had anything but snack since our breakfast at McDonalds in Minnesota. Snacks leave me feeling lethargic and slow of mind. I start feeling like I’m turning into what I’m eating. Cheesy armpits, oily forehead, and salty perspiration coating my nasty body like a shellacked armoire. The small of my back starts smarting no matter how hard I work at getting comfortable. My wallet puts a divot in my butt, my legs feel arthritic and atrophied, my eyes have that throbbing ache just behind them that makes me feel like they’re about to pop out of my sockets hanging their by nerves and strands of soft tissue.

All I can think about is steak. I find myself fantasizing about it, “If I can just eat a steak, everything will be better. I just need to consume some red meat.” These ruminations kept me going the last three hours. The scenery wasn’t cutting it anymore. The splendor of nature can feed my heart, but it doesn’t do much for my stomach.

Don’t get me wrong, the land was still bewitching as all get out. At times, it would make me forget how bad I needed to go to the bathroom or how desperate I was for sustenance. My eyes would dart to and fro taking in the ever changing texture of Montana. Night fell on the spacious grasslands and for about an hour or so, we drove toward the glow of the city of Great Falls. That was the city that had my steak in refrigeration waiting in glorious suspense to fulfill the purpose for which it was created. I’m not a lover of cows, I’m a lover of cow. Medium-rare cow to be more specific.

The glow of Great Falls also reminded my heart of another basic longing of the human heart, a soft bed. We were planning on finding a hotel after dinner and bedding down for the night. Sleep deprivation is sometimes even more transfixing than food deprivation. You can live without food for quite sometime, but I’ve heard it said that it only takes a few days without sleep and you’re a goner. I tried to calculate the amount of deep sleep I’d had in the past 48 hours and I came up with a number somewhere between 5-7 hours. When I don’t get good sleep, I start to daydream about cotton and pillow tops and soft linens and dreamy cloud-like objects floating about slowly in the atmosphere of my brain.

In my mind, there was a battle of deprivations, a pillow pitted against a steak. It was like a cage match…no holds barred. For the time being, the steak had the pillow in a full-nelson fueled by the strength of my meaty desire, but the pillow was a formidable foe. There were a few moments where there would be a unexpected reversal, and the steak pinned down on the mat getting ready to tap out in surrender. Just when you felt like the steak was about to throw in the towel, it would regain unprecedented vigor and regain dominance. It was exhausting having this cage match take place inside my body.

After what seemed like an eternity of driving in the dark (it was only about an hour), we coasted into the suburbs of Great Falls. I can’t tell you how enlivening it was to see restaurants, grocery stores, and gas stations. Places with parking lot lights. Places with two stories. Places with signs of life. Places with people.

Sleep and Steak…my life boiled down to these two basic needs. I couldn’t wait for either; I felt like I would have shed blood for both.


tayedrumma said…
now steak is something that cures just about any ailment

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