More from Coming Into The Country by John McPhee…
This is from Book II, What They Were Hunting For in which the search for a location for a new Alaskan capital is described. On page 133 a Robert Atwood is quoted:
Idealists here in town see a need for a park in every housing development. They want to bury utility lines, reserve green belts, build bicycle paths. With these things, the bowl could only contain three hundred and fifty thousand people. They favor animals, trees, water, flowers. Who ever makes a plan for man? Who ever will make a plan for man? That is what I wonder. I am known amound conservasionists as a bad guy.
Foolish me. I thought favoring animals, trees, water (water!!!) and flowers was a plan for man!
I’ve been reading Coming Into the Country by John McPhee. Yes, I’m thirty three years behind the times.
On page 37 and going around the corner to 38, McPhee and companions are in the Alaskan wilderness:
Breakfast in the frying pan–freeze-dried eggs…Nobody’s skin is going to turn brown on these eggs–or on cinnamon-apple-flavored Instant Quaker Oatmeal, or Tang, or Swiss Miss, or on cold pink-icinged Pop-Tarts with raspberry filling. For those who do not believe what they have just read, allow me to confirm it: in Pourchot’s breakfast bag are pink-icinged Pop-Tarts with raspberry filling. Lacking a toaster, and not caring much anyway, we eat them cold. They invite a question.
Oh good! McPhee sees it too. A question is indeed invited! He continues:
To a palate without bias–the palate of an open-minded Berber, the palate of a travelling Martian–which would be the more acceptable, a pink-icinged Pop-Tart with raspberry filling (cold) or the fat gob from behind a caribou’s eye?
Wait. That’s the invited question? Yeah, sure, it is an interesting question, but it sure as heck is not the question that I was thinking about as he confirmed the presence and eating of the pink-icinged Pop-Tarts with raspberry filling.
You are preparing to go into the Alaskan wilderness for an extended period of time and you pack Pop-Tarts?!
And I’ve got to believe that the unbiased palate would prefer food (the fat gob) over manufactured crap (Pop-Tarts), though I suspect I would seek a third option.
But that’s just me.