Saturday, January 4, 2014

Simultaneously Thinking Fresh and Outside the Bun

I have always loved driving along highways. Yes, I like taking backroads and finding adventures along those, too. However, the long expanse of asphalt stretching out into the horizon brings some form of comfort to me. The reflective green signs announcing the next exit in a half mile stand as invitations to pull off and stop (planned or otherwise). Finally, no interstate journey is complete without seeing the glowing emblems of fast food and gas stations towering above the exits, often visible for several miles. 

Have you ever heard them?

"Stop here!" they scream. 
"No, here!" 
"Grab some fries and a drink!" 
"Stretch those legs and eat a hot dog!"
"This iced tea will make that drive feel shorter!" 
"We have bathrooms AND snack food!" 

That is what those signs say to me, anyways. I usually keep my music turned up loud so I can ignore them. I'll admit it: I give in sometimes.

As much as I have traveled and of the distances I have covered, I forget that those signs are not always recognized by everybody. This past week, I gave a private tour around the Nashville area for a family from Manhattan. One of the things that most amazed the family (especially the kids) was the fact that these places existed. As we'd pull off an exit to work towards our destination, the kids would point and ogle at these culinary treats. "Look! A Shoneys! A Taco Bell! A So-nic!" Evidently, fast food dining is few and far between on that little New York island. Something I take for granted, see everyday, consider American, and rarely actually think about became one of the highlights for this family. They toured an American city and it seems fitting that one of the things they were excited to witness were those glowing pedestals of processed, pre-packaged, high-sodium, deep-fried deliciousness our country is so good at promoting. Welcome to 'Merica. 

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