I don't think I've been wired with what people call an "addictive personality," which is not to say that, if unregulated, I couldn't simply eat peanuts (well, mixed nuts) for most of the day. I could. And donuts. Well, some donuts. No, most donuts. Almost all donuts.
My father had this habit--not addiction--of packing off-brand dry-roasted peanuts along on every trip he ever made out here to Iowa. That long jar would sit between the seats so that whenever he wanted, he could reach down, screw off the lid, and grab a handful. He said he liked to eat peanuts when he travelled because they kept him awake, which is not to say he didn't also love peanuts.
His son's tastes were not as eternally shaped by the Great Depression. When I travel, I like to take a rich mixture of Chex Mix and mixed nuts. Dry roasted are beneath me. In fact, don't whisper a word of this to the luxury police, but lately I've been taking to spicing up the brew even more with a goodly handful of whole cashews. I know I should repent, but I'm powerless.
Anyway, my little nutty concoction isn't little at all. It fills most of a Tuppeware tub big enough for a quart of ice cream and sits, reasonably, at the close edge of the front seat--yes, out of the way of pedals. Now the fact of the matter is, I can eat that stuff day and night. I love it. In fact, normally I mix up a batch only when I travel or risk suffering the kind of bloating I get to feeling every day after a long interstate stretch behind the wheel. But I eat it to stay awake.
So when we finally got down to Oklahoma and pulled up in front of my son's apartment, I climbed out and just about knocked that Tupperware tub out of the car. I'd done pretty well that day (of course, we'd only come from Tulsa), staying away from the mix. Maybe that's why, of a sudden, that blasted tub turned miraculously into long jar of cheap dry roasted peanuts. Just like that, that's what I saw there on the floor--my father's No-Doze dosage in the shape of my own. That's why, all of a sudden, as I cranked my weary knees out of the driver's seat and tried, shakily, to stand, I looked down there and simply became, right then and there, my father. It was a vision. For a moment, I had become my dad visiting his son. Nothing had changed but the mix.
History was rewinding or forwarding. It was de ja vu all over again, as Yogi said. It was oddly haunting. I'd become my father.
I'd become my father.
I'd become my father.