"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


Can't Sleep...

(Cloud Haiku)

Floating in darkness
Underneath that watchful eye
Metallic giants


Remember Shakey's Pizza?

Man, as a kid I used to love that place. I remember walking up - in the frigid, dark air, my breath a frozen cloud around my head and my parents telling me to slow down - to the huge wooden door with the wrought iron frame - old world style - and excitedly pulling it open and immediately being enveloped in warmth and a sensory explosion that almost made me stop in my tracks, unable to react to any of it because I wanted all of it.

Impossibly high ceilings supported by great rustic planks of deep, rich timber supports. The laughter, the cigarette smoke, deep pitchers filled to the rim with root beer - my favorite - being sloshed over the hightop tables from glass to glass. The sound of another round of PacMan or Moon Patrol starting up from the arcade by the restrooms.

And pizza everywhere.

Pizza back then was simpler. Wasn't it? Wolfgang Puck may have been avant-garde down in California back then, but in Alaska we're at least 15 years behind the times in food trends, 5 years for a new hairstyle, minimum. Back then, good pizza still smelled like an armpit. Loads of onions, canned mushrooms, and pepperoni sliced so thin when it cooked it got crispy and crinkly, like dried parchment. The edges of the crust bubbled up in mountains, volcanos with magma chambers of hot air beneath, watching to be released by an errant bite, and erupt and burn your upper lip.

Occasionally I'd grab a slice of hawaiian - the canned pineapple was the extent of exotic in 1979 Alaska, or a hand full of Mojos (batttered cottage fries) - but mostly I just wanted more cheese and the bubbly hot crust.

Giant gulps of that root beer in the pitcher to wash it down.

I'd burp the loudest, impressing all of my friends as those huge balloons, wider on top than on the bottom, floated and bounced around on their strings above us like fat, pink elephants. Then we play Tank Commander - with green-line graphics and the periscope view finder that got all sweaty and chafed a ring around your face after a solid hour of playing.

When my parents finally told me I had to leave, they got no real objection from me, for by that time I'd eaten so much pizza and drank so much root beer I was feeling kinda sick to my stomach. But of course, I did have room for an ice cream cone from Baskin Robbins next door.

Back out though the wooden and iron door I went, and the cold, frigid air slammed down on top of my senses like a heavy, steel gate.

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