The Elusive Wagon

This, my friends, is apparently the “wagon” of “on the wagon.” Now, there’s a lot of debate about this, so don’t quote me on it. One of the possible sources for the term came from the olden times when water wagons (seen below) were used to keep down the dust on the dirt roads. And those who were “on the wagon” were saying that they’d drink the water from the wagon rather than the demon rum. Apparently it wasn’t all that great of water, either, not really meant for drinking.


We went on our great tour of Revolutionary War battle sites of Greater New York. About a week ago, we set out from Ohio and drove up to near Buffalo, where there is beautiful and stunning Roycroft Inn. You must go. Especially if you love the Arts and Crafts style, and who doesn’t. But be forewarned, the food is horrible even to normal people. And this was my first taste of trying to live in the real world for a moment.

I brought a cooler packed with Whole30-approved wonderful things. I had two beautiful main-dish salads in pyrex and balsamic vinegar, good olive oil, sunbutter, carrots, organic peaches, etc., etc. But I couldn’t really bring enough for 5 days on the road. I had a few meals, and then was out there in the world.

I was also trying to be a good sport, a team player, and not an ill and/or weird person, so I had breakfast at the beautiful, lovely breakfast room at the Roycroft. Eggs, sausage, bacon, a latte, and fruit. (No toast! I wasn’t that crazy.) I should’ve known it was stupid, because the eggs (scrambled) gave me an uneasy sense that they might be from a carton, and the meats, well, God only knows what post-industrial stew of MSG and nitrates they came out of. Bottom line, I got a low-grade migraine, nausea and dizziness, which didn’t match driving in a rain storm through very curvy, confusing backroads, while also trying to do needlework.

I stopped doing the needlework, obviously, and ultimately asked Ben to let me drive. He was driving like a maniac and reading various maps and phones and GPS’s at the same time, which didn’t inspire confidence. So after we toured Fort Ontario, I drove much of the way to Montreal.

There, very tired, hungry, and all the remaining food warming in the not-cool cooler, I ate out again. This time it was fish and chips, gluten free mind you! It seemed like that went fine, although by no means Whole30 compliant. I don’t know what was in the breading, but something off-road.

The next morning, in this gorgeous place Ben found for us, there was a lovely buffet. I looked past a huge array of cakes and scones and rolls and such. I was trying to be good and I passed on all of it. I just had some ham, turkey, a hard boiled egg, and some fresh fruit. This while surrounded by this incredible collection of modern art– like Warhol, Jim Dine, Jasper Johns and more, all just all over the place, the private collection of the owner.

And again… migraine! I really felt like I was going to vomit in the car, and when we arrived at Fort Chambly, I just tried to sport this wan smile while I greenly admired it. At times I had to sit alone and as quiet as possible, trying to endure a docent who was giving a class in French, other random French speakers, the bright sun and the stirring of the leaves on their blasted trees. Migraine! It must’ve been the turkey and ham… laced in something? F***ing MSG!!

I don’t know. It passed. The fort was starkly beautiful. The kids had a great time. For lunch I just ate carrots and sunbutter in the car, fearing any other step outside my box. But late in the day, after an endless wait at the border (Ben was doing push-ups in the road) and more car-sicky winding roads and stunning beauty, I just felt warn down. I felt like, here I didn’t have pancakes or toast or scones or croissants and STILL I felt horrible. Thus, when ice cream came into range I folded. I caved. Ben and the kids were having some. What’s the point?? I reasoned.  I ate Moose Tracks. I sat with the kids on a picnic table in Nowhere Vermont and left the wagon in the dust.

Then we were at Ben’s cousins and I ate chickpeas galore, just because they are vegetarians and we needed a Venn diagram of what we could all eat, although legumes were off the wagon. Bagged tuna, and again the ice cream monster.

After that we stayed at Ben’s parents’ summer house and overall I did well there. Things were homemade and the danger much lower. The last few days I’ve been home alone and it’s not been pretty. Up at all hours, watching the lowest-low brow comedies possible, and eating willy nilly. Ice cream is my bete noire.

At the moment I feel ill, self-inflicted, and I feel like my foray into the normal world revealed that my reality is I need to live in my little special box. In my special box, everything is organic and mostly homemade. In my special box, beef is grass-fed and eggs are pastured and salmon is wild caught. Vegetables are from a CSA down the road and picked the same day I get them, or even picked by me personally. I live in a very comfortable, beautiful, fortunate sort of box. I don’t deny that. But in fact this box, wonderful as it is, is sort of cage. A gilded cage perhaps, but a cage that I cannot leave without consequences. This is what the trip showed me. I can be as careful as I possibly can out in reality and it will not be careful enough. It’s a cage that makes it awkward at any one else’s house, and dining out only possible with the greatest care. It’s a first world problem, God knows! But I just wish I were more… you know… normal.

Also I find that if I get off-road at all, I get crazy. Like turtle sundae crazy. It’s like my brain can’t handle “maybe” or “sometimes” it only understands yes and no. Like a dog who can either be on the couch or not on the couch, but not “sometimes.” I think I have a simple brain. Today one of the Whole30 people posted a great piece about how “moderation in all things” just does not work for some people. Like me. I’m a simple person. I like Will Farrell movies, like Old School. I liked The Dictator by Sacha Baron Cohen and laughed a great deal, even though I could see how stupid it was. I ate a turtle sundae because I was driving by Mitchell’s, and that was the only reason.

Now… back on the wagon. I’ve had my little deviation and found –again– how much worse I feel by like a hundred different measures. Tomorrow, my new day one. Ahoy, wagon! Let me aboard.


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3 Responses to The Elusive Wagon

  1. betty ponder says:

    Wow, I don’t envy you. I hope there will be more good days than bad.

  2. Cameron Von St James says:

    Hey I have a quick question about your blog, could you email me when you have a chance? Thanks! –Cam

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