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Writing the wrong: A burger story

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POSTED February 16, 2011 1:16 a.m.
An hour into my fishing contemplation I heard my phone buzz with a message.

It was Nate, and he was heading to the Stanislaus to toss flies.

Sometimes you just aren’t really capable of making decisions. That’s why Saturday morning I laid under my flannel-fish sheets, gazing blankly out the bedroom window at the warm blue sky.

I had narrowed the next few hours of my life to three options: Drive to a fly-casting ranch in Sonoma I had never been to, pass Redding on my way to the Upper Sacramento, or ... something else.

I’m glad Nate provided the “something else,” because the other two options were a little intense for a Saturday that had already dawned and started to pass.

About halfway to the river, an impatient driver and his blue truck thought it would be a good idea to pass me and another truck by veering over into a westbound turning lane, rolling through the rarely disturbed pebbles settled between the double yellow lines. One shot up and nailed my windshield.

I watched him then get stuck behind a big rig and laughed as we snaked our way east.

I hoped he would stop where I did. I desire no confrontation, just wanted to matter-of-factly introduce him to the windshield he violated while ignoring basic rules of vehicular navigation and be on my way.

Fishing was slow, but Saturday screamed spring (or Alaskan summer) which was plenty to keep me satisfied. I’ve been experimenting with different casts and forcing myself to fish pools cuts and eddy’s even if there is little to no sign, because eventually a 2-foot rainbow will park itself there and dare me to try.

Few things are worse than not having a cast in your bag when that’s where the fish are. Certain spots are easy, but living there is a detriment to growth — hence the notion of a visit to the casting ranch.

After a few hours we stopped for a burger.

Two bites into mine I realized it wasn’t what I ordered. I’m not a big send-it-back guy. Now if I ordered a steak and got farmed salmon ...well I’d probably just leave.

Plus, with the way things work, if I would have run down the guy in the blue truck, he probably would have ended up being the guy fixing the burger I sent back, and who knows in what state the burger would have returned.

I was merely trading a good burger I ordered, for one I didn’t. No big deal, no need to make anyone feel bad, plus the lady asked us what we were up to and then if we caught any fish.

Anyway, with the last bite, I declared, “There was no pineapple in that burger.”

“What did you order?” he responded, as if my seven words had led to an epiphany.

“Not this.”

Apparently, Nate wasn’t too worried about the fact that his order was wrong, too. If he, or I for that matter, had been, we would have simply switched baskets to fix the problem. The issue stemmed from the half French fry, half onion ring side I had requested.

They were dumped next to a burger that, because wrapped, was indistinguishable. Nate’s burger went next to my side and my burger to his full order of fries.

When the waitress brought out the baskets, I claimed my side and started in on the burger.

Knowing this, I was immediately happy I hadn’t complained, as I was the one that was smart enough to recognize which side I ordered but didn’t peep about the burger that I didn’t.

It certainly was a great day indeed — from the wasted hour in bed, to the chipped windshield and the coup de grace, eating the wrong burger.

Such is the life an outdoorsman, a life I’d never trade for all the apps, vampires and video games the world can offer.
“It’s a Lund-erful Life”
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