Dining inside vehicle sometimes unavoidable

It wouldn’t take the cast from one of those CSI shows long to check out my car and figure out that the last couple of weeks have been a little more hectic than others.

There wouldn’t be a need for them to check DNA or fingerprints or evidence of that nature. With what they would be sifting through, they may want to solicit the services of that Guy Fieri dude from “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”

Whomever is leading the investigation, soon they will report of finding trace amounts of sweet onion sauce from a sandwich shop on the driver’s seat. From the other side, increased levels of sodium, an apparent sign of a recent coating of an order of fries to make it more palatable. Along the floor, a smattering of small crumbs from chicken fingers right next to crumbs from the bun of yet another burger. While thinking back the other day while mid-dinner at 75 mph (or so), I came to the realization that I’ve had a few more front-seat meals than normal.

I told myself quite some time ago that I was going to try to cut down on the meals on the run. Sure, every place in town seems to have a drive-through window that encourages us to chow down while we drive.

But, I figured, with a little advance planning and a little self-control, surely I could cut down on the experience. And don’t make this out to be some health food kick, I’ll take a greasy burger and fries most anytime. It’s more just the old “stop and smell the flowers” attitude — surely I could stop for 15 minutes to replenish my ever-expanding stomach. But here lately, events have been conspiring against me.

First, there was the “down one day, back the next” trip with the family to Kansas City for a wedding — thus, the sweet onion sauce. And a small role in a big project at work has resulted in three trips to Omaha in the last week with late-evening drives home — thus the increased levels of sodium, small crumbs of chicken fingers right next to crumbs from a bun.

Throw in the occasional renegade french fry and candy wrappers and you can almost hear my waistline growing. After all, it’s finish a meal and spend at least the next hour sitting in the same seat you just dined in.

And it’s not some total aversion to eating in the car. More times than not, I’ll pack a lunch to take to work with me. On those days, I’ll usually leave the building, drive to a nearby park and eat lunch there in the car.

It’s why I keep an issue or two of Sports Illustrated in the car at all times. A little reading material with my lunch and time flies, even if the car isn’t at the time.

But again, there’s just something about the idea of dashing down the highway while dining. Multitasking is a wonderful thing, just not this combo for me if possible. If nothing else, there’s the safety factor, too.

I probably shouldn’t be worrying about dipping the chicken into the gravy, or digging into the bag for the last french fry, while passing one truck and wondering if that guy behind me is going to slow down before climbing into my trunk.

Maybe things will slow down and I can go back to having time to stop for meals.

In the meantime, anyone know the best salad to eat on the road?

Stay away, fog

A co-worker pointed out this week the folklore that snow falls 90 days after the first heavy fog of the summer. Could be bad news for the trick-or-treaters — there was a pretty good fog out there this week. Late October, here we come.

If that little bit of foggy weather lore doesn’t appeal to you, how about this one? Count the number of foggy mornings in August, and that’s how many snowfalls we get this winter.

Here’s hoping for crystal-clear mornings right through to Labor Day. Although I’d take a little more rain without complaining.

Unless it gets my burger soggy handing it out through the drive-thru window.    

Russ Batenhorst

Don't expect to detect a common topic or theme in Russ Batenhorst's weekly column in the Hastings Tribune. Usually it's whatever slice-of-life observation pops into his head just in time to make the deadline for it to appear each Friday.

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