Week 20: Eat Better, Love Life, Live Longer.

Week 20: Eat Better, Love Life, Live Longer.

It’s 5:15 AM and this my friends is true love. Ryan is running the Xterra Claw race at Alafia State Park and 1 volunteer = 1 free registration. Why the hell not? Why wouldn’t I want to wake up at 5:15 on a Sunday and hand water to 300 people? I can’t actually explain it, lately I’m just nicer. I’m signed up for 26 hours of volunteering in the month of May alone and surprisingly it’s not issued by the state.

We need to be at the park by 6:45. No problem, if it wasn’t an hour away, we weren’t saki bombing last night, and Ryan didn’t need a pair of sneakers. I’m always great at being ready within 5 minutes and being on time. It’s Ryan I’m concerned for.  He has a shaved head these days so we’ve knocked off about 15 minutes of hair time, but the duration of time associated with “I’ll be ready in 10 minutes” is more often than not 20 or 30.

We decide to take my Audi on this off-road adventure because I’m trading it in tomorrow. Why keep it clean any longer? I’m getting a Saab 9-3 Aero and the man who sold it to me let me know that there is a Saab Club in Tampa. A Saab Club? Sounds like a bunch of Cape Cod yuppies that have relocated to Florida and are getting high off their turbocharged rushes. They probably buy Saabs with their parents’ riches and have lawn parties with bocce ball and finger sandwiches. Maybe they yearn to feel culturally connected to Sweden and think that a Saab accomplishes that. Maybe I will join. A while ago I read the book “Stuff White People Like” and now that I think about it, “Saabs” should be its own chapter.

Surprisingly we are only 15 minutes late, but I am almost instantly shuttled off to my volunteer role. They drop me and two other volunteers off literally in the middle of nowhere. We’re at Alafia State Park and I’m stationed at the 5.3 mile mark, at a table where I’m supposed to hand out water and Gatorade to every single person who passes and lets me know that I’m a bag of shit and they are in great physical shape.

MERRRRRRR!  What the shit is that? The other girl volunteer immediately says “oh it’s probably a deer.” Listen, I understand that I may look like a bit of a dumb floozie this morning with my day old makeup and lack of interest in your statements, but I know that is not a deer. I don’t like animals but I know a few things about zoology. Just a second ago I was capable of recognizing that my mascara caked eyelashes were spontaneously generating into some species of tarantula, and right now I am properly analyzing that mating call from miles away. That my Czech princess is not a deer; it is a frigan Tyrannosaurus Rex.

She didn’t have much time to analyze the Tyrannosaurus Rex comment because within seconds her husband was running towards us. In first place. You’ve got to be shitting me. I was secretly wishing that Ryan was in second place and about to kick his ass. Her husband had the head of Kurt Cobain, the torso of Kate Moss, and the legs of a Kenyan. Who is this super human and more importantly how does he straighten his hair that well in this humidity? Much to my surprise Ryan ran by shortly after. He ended up finishing 29th out of 218 people.

We’ve been up for 6 hours now and haven’t had a single bite to eat. We hop in the car and Ryan is driving… I decide to take a 10 minute powernap in the passenger seat. When I open my eyes I realize we are lost.  We are on MLK Boulevard and more often than not, no matter where you are, when you see MLK Blvd you are on the wrong side of the tracks.

We quickly evacuate MLK Blvd and its quaint surroundings and stumble upon Fred’s Southern Kitchen. Everyone working here is approximately 17 years old and I wonder if they are all Johnson’s, Fred’s family who has supposedly brought three generations of classic dishes and southern hospitality to Plant City.

The menu says “Eat Better, Love Life, Live Longer” and I find it quite ironic because we’re sitting next to a huge greasy buffet. Nobody is living any longer after that. I’m not really excited about the buffet this week because we’ve actually been to too many lately. I’m buffet-ed out, but I still fill my plate with a hefty portion of corn bread, bbq ribs, cole slaw, sweet potatoes, mac and cheese, beef stew and corn casserole. The macaroni and cheese is some of the worst I’ve ever had. It looks and tastes like someone put a slice of American cheese over a bed of microwave-boiled noodles. However, the corn casserole is marvelous. I savor every last bite of it and although there is an unlimited supply just steps away, I stay put with exhaustion. Ryan eats fried pork chops, fried chicken, corn casserole, fried green tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, cat fish and bread pudding.

I zone in on the table next to us which is pretty much my dream table, they have 4 adorable munchkins. I adore their family until I realize that they’ve named their boys Christian, Lorenzo, Vinny and Giovanni. Who the hell are these people, the Plant City mob? Even my Italian-rooted self thinks that’s pitiable. Couldn’t you have just named the damn kid Ted or something?

When it’s time to leave, I notice that Ryan has a hush puppy left on his plate. I tell him it’s a sin to waste food and he needs to take it home in his pocket. I didn’t really feel that way, but I wanted to see if he’d do what he was told. I watched him as he wrapped the hush puppy in a napkin and placed it into his pocket. Unbelievable.

To be honest, I was too tired on this brunch adventure to enjoy much. All I could picture was home, bed and air conditioning and when I got it, I forgot brunch ever happened. Next week, we’ll explore some riveting coupons and see where we can get the best bang for our buck.

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