First, I am taking a two-day class located in a town about a half-hour from where I live. So, there's roughly an hour every day where I can, as the music group Depeche Mode says, "Enjoy the silence". A kid-free, enclosed-in-my-lovely-automobile silence.
Usually, I listen to music. However, I've found mornings are the worst time to do so, because of the slew of morning talk-show radio programs. Not that I'm against talk-radio, but my experience has been that music stations have ridiculously inane morning talk-shows.
So, this morning, finding nothing satisfactory on my preset music channels, I turn to National Public Radio. I know, I know. Many of you long-time NPR fans out there are welcoming me to the light, and are wondering why I'd never tuned in before. I *knew* NPR existed, but I dunno, I just never got the bug.
But I might have this morning. It occurred to me, as I'm listening to discussion about Italy's failing economy, rebellion in Syria, and a vegetable co-operative in St. Louis, that there's a whole other world out there that I know nothing about. Talk about perspective. Diabetics in Syria are having troubles getting necessary medication because of the border clashes, and I'm worried about writing an American Lit syllabus?
Here's what I'm glad of this morning. I have access to food, shelter, gas, and medical attention. Many people in the world do not. As much as I lament about my relationships (all of them), at least I don't have to worry about anyone I care about being blown up by a land mine.
I'm lucky. I need to start being more grateful. Epiphany #1.
As I rushed out the door this morning, I forgot to pack the piece of fruit that allays the mid-morning munchies. A stop at the gas station rendered nothing. Sure, there was plenty of sweets and carbs for sale, but no wholesome fruit. I was desperate. I spotted a bottle of Muscle Milk on the cooler shelf, and thought, what the heck, milk could be a snack, right?!
Wrong. On the bottle of the Muscle Milk Light I purchased, in small print, were these words "Contains No Milk." Whaaaaaaat? Surveying the list of ingredients turned up such gems like: Digestive resistant maltodextrin, sodium hexametaphosphate, medium chain triglycerides. This is complicated chemistry at its best. I should have stopped right there, set the bottle on fire in protest, and run screaming from the store to contact my congressman.
But, I did not. I read the clever marketing message on the side of the bottle, with the final slogan: Drink. Evolve. And that hit me where it hurt. Of course I want to evolve. So I buy the Muscle Milk.
Epiphany #2. Not only is Muscle Milk a weird chemical hodgepodge in milk's clothing, it also tastes sweetly horrible. It's the arsenic-sugared cookies from the book "Flowers in the Attic". I was strongly reminded of those heinous protein/Atkins bars...cardboard dipped in corn syrup, rolled in some nut-like protein binder, and coated in a chocolate-like caseinate substance.
So now I know. And now you know.