Friday, July 11, 2008

Furtive Pickles

What: Van Holten's Kosher Pickle
When: July 11th
Where: Winnipeg
Cost: $1.29

While going through security at the airport yesterday the guard held open my purse and asked if I had a drink or something inside. Before checking in I had done a quick perusal of the contents of my (admittedly huge and over-stuffed) bag and didn't find any bottles, so I peered past her hands to see what she was talking about.

"Oh, no." I said, "I'm sorry, it's just a pickle."

But not just any pickle. A huge, mutant pickle, floating in brine inside a plastic pouch like an embalmed cucumber fetus. I kept seeing them in gas stations across America but was always inevitably stopped from buying one by disapproving band members.

Once, while perusing the gargantuan pickle selection I looked up to see Bobby just silently shaking his head at me. When Allison would catch me lingering too long in the pickle aisle she would yell, "Don't buy it, you know what it's going to taste like!"

But eventually I couldn't resist the allure of the monster pickle, so I snuck into a gas station sometime near the end of our last American tour and secretly bought the biggest pickle I could find.

For some unknown reason I didn't eat the pickle right away. Instead I carried it around with me like a hidden talisman, all the way back to London and then onto an airplane headed for Winnipeg. Alas, I feared my garlicky good luck charm would not last another trip, so I was forced to eat it this afternoon.

I broke open the pouch, poured out the juice with only a small amount of spillage, and took a big bite. It tasted like a pickle.

A pickle that had been softened by the insides of my purse and the disgusted but tender proddings of an airport security agent. The skin was extremely tough and leathery and the whole thing reminded me of a regular pickle that had somehow escaped being eaten and been left to grow into its natural old age.

Thus ends my brief infatuation with gas station pickles and begins yet another round of dining on questionable convenience store food. We are without our van for all these upcoming festival dates (and therefore will not be frequenting many gas stations) but I will do my best to sample the finest oddities Winnipeg, Dawson City and Calgary have to offer.