A Holiday Message of Meat

orHow the Messenger Bag SavedAndy from the parking nightmare at Whole Foods onChristmasEve

Our holiday tale begins at my house, nestled among the quaint & rustic trailer parks of north Phoenix. A beef tenderloin roast awaits at Whole Foods, a mere 10 miles away. The journey will be perilous, but the reward will be a holiday message of meat, delivered in a genuine Timbuk2 messenger bag.

Continuing a long tradition, I get lost in Paradise Valley. Having lived in the Phoenix area for more than five years now, and bicycled through Paradise Valley more times than I can count, my inability to successfully navigate the area stands as a testament to the warped sense of humor shared by the town planners. Either that or I'm a total dumbass. Either way, I'm not going to let the eccentricities of PV's geography keep my message of meat from reaching the holiday table. Here's a sample of the kind of fun I'm talking about:

I eventually give up on the messy side streets of PV and initiate a Banzai Run. The logic of a Banzai run goes like this: If I keep backtracking on these side streets, I'll eventually dehydrate and starve to death. I'll lose so much weight that even spandex won't cling to my emaciated bones. I'll be remembered only as a starved, naked corpse with a kick-ass messenger bag. My message of meat will go undelivered, and Christmas will forever be remembered as a tragic day in my family. But I'm not going to let that happen to me; oh, no. I'm gonna' point my bike down the busiest road I can find. One that I know doesn't dead end at a golf course or change directions at a community library. I'm going to ride Tatum. The trick will be not getting hit by all those SUVs. So before I turn onto Tatum, I'll take a deep breath and yell "BANZAI!!!!" Then I'll accelerate as close to the speed of the cars as I can (about 29 mph on this day) and at least if they hit me it'll only be with a closing speed of 25 mph or so. Best outcome: I get out of PV alive. Worst outcome: I die, but very quickly instead of withering away at the corner of Mockingbird Lane and Mockingbird Lane. I always use a Banzai Run to get out of PV.

Finally, I meet the meat. I ask the butcher for an ice pack, but they don't have any nifty, self-contained ones; just crushed ice. Not a dry cold pack, but stuff that turns wet at 33°F. The ride home has to be quick.

35 min. and one Banzai Run along Cactus Road later, I arrive home, the meaty cargo safely delivered to its destination. The messenger bag performed admirably, showing a much greater load-bearing capacity in the face of this beefy payload than my shoulders (which are still a touch sore).

The colors of the messenger bag tell the story: Brown for the deep chestnut of a perfectly roasted tenderloin, red for the garnet hue of the zinfandel that complemented its meaty succulence, and black for everything that happened after the fifth bottle of zinfandel (I'm told it was memorable).