Thursday, July 29, 2010


Saturday, on the Tour de Water Tower, I found myself in Queen Anne, bonking, thirsty, and in need of a place to pee. The reasonable option to find some sugar, hydration, and a toilet seemed to be the Metropolitan Market, a big fancy upscale grocery store right in front of me on my route, so in I went.


Perhaps it was my weakened state; perhaps it was the juxtaposition of the beautiful outdoor environment I’d been enjoying for an hour and a half contrasted with the artificially-lit, low-ceilinged interior of the store; maybe it was the space cookie I ate at the start of the race, but the place was just way too much.

I got lost looking for the restroom amidst the plenty of the cookie department; there must have been 400 types of sweets in brightly-colored boxes, right next to thousands of bottles of various types of soda and flavored water, leading to another aisle stacked floor to roof with condiments and boxed dinners, alongside giant freezer cases stuffed with more multi-colored packages of microwaveable meals than there are fruits and vegetables in the world, (although the nearby produce department with its endless varieties of hybridized tangelos, pluots, and avonanas made a run for the money); I wandered in circles past the kitchenware section replete with 42 unique types of wine-bottle opening devices, and I just kept wondering (besides “where the fuck is the bathroom?”) whether or not life is better with all these choices.

Do human beings really need to parse among several hundred flavors of ice cream? Are we really better off having an almost limitless number of brands of cereals to choose from? I can’t even decide whether to wear one of my two pairs of blue jeans or my bicycle knickers; how can I ever come to grips with 87 types of toothepaste to pick between?

Maybe the really meaningful choice would be to choose fewer choices; I’ll choose that.


Blogger lisa marie said...

I encountered this same predicament at Madison Market on Wednesday. I never located the restroom, however I did procure one of the five selections of ginger beer. Check out Sheena Iyengar's TED Talk on the art of choice. She sheds light on the absurd amount of dailiy decisions we make.

12:19 PM  
Blogger Larry Livermore said...

I was a little puzzled by your use of the word "bonking," since in Britain this is a near-universal euphemism for sexual activity, and I seriously doubted that this is what you were doing in front of a market in Queen Anne during the middle of a bicycle race.

Apparently it means something quite different in this country, at least among the athletic set. Thanks for making me aware of this!

1:26 PM  

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