Dining: America’s Least Awakened Places


I just read a headline on the Daily mail (I know, I know, I get what I deserve): ‘[Singer] Demi Lovato says they’re not sure they want kids anymore – admitting life in their 30s without kids is “pretty nice” – as they open up to being non-binary and pansexual. ‘

I rubbed my eyes and put on my monocle. Surely someone for whom English is a second language wrote this article? I squinted. “Demi Lovato isn’t sure parenting is in their future anymore.”

As intrigued as I was to learn more about Demi’s reproductive aspirations, neither my grammatical standards nor my sanity could take any more. I left as fast as I could to the American Diner to regain confidence in humanity.

The American Diner is a roadside restaurant surrounded by a swamp, located along Route 322, a 200-year-old road cluttered with a few dilapidated buildings and abandoned billboards in the heart of Pennsylvania coal country . The same family has owned the restaurant for 50 years. They live in the back. Father and son frequently come out of the kitchen to the cozy dining room to talk to customers. Discussions are impossible not to hear. The venue only has about ten narrow booths, so if you have a secret to share, this is not the place to do it. The restaurant is much like an oversized lounge, where people join in conversations between bites of scrapple and sips of hot coffee, shouting across the room every now and then.

Discussions range from benign thoughts on the weather – “Do you think it’s going to rain today? The reporter said it was supposed to, but he’s never been wrong before! Ha ha! – hottest news – “PennDOT doesn’t care to fix these roads when we give them free money!” “- to the most shameless partisan proclamations -” I would like to see Trump run again, with Mike Lindell as vice president this time.

The American Diner – though particularly quaint with its cheery yellow walls and red and white gingham curtains – is not unique in the fluid nature of its patrons’ speech. Every restaurant and truck stop I have ever encountered presented a refreshing hideaway To (not of) reality, hard to find in today’s waking world of false issues. Insensitive to the affections of modernity, these restaurants remain the bastions of freedom and honesty on which America was built.

Let’s start with the ambiance of these fatty spoons. Autonomy is the first expectation of an overworked waitress who doubles as a hostess who tells you to “Sit where you want”.

You settle into a cubicle and another idea that this place is an enterprising embodiment of constitutional freedoms comes in the form of a paper doily and a sturdy coffee mug promoting capitalism, the Second Amendment and freedom of religion. Here, sporting a company’s supplies, are advertisements for a dozen more – usually the most difficult professions you can imagine.

A well used cup of coffee at Aunt Lu’s Café, located inside the Sapp Brothers’ Truck Stop in Clearfield, where I went for ‘work’ and hash corned beef late at night (this mission was the best !), truck repair plugs, parts, road service, towing and recovery (all in one ad); landscaping supplies; roofs of metal; ammunition, weapons and full armory services; agricultural supplies; tarpaulins; Bob’s CB store; a Wesleyan church and… fireworks!

Then, inside the full menu, you discover unpretentious, inexpensive and plentiful food. Restaurants and truck stops are truly the most judgment-free areas, giving us all exactly what we want. Which is all.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner any time of the day? Yeah. How are you this to be fluid? Want to sit alone at the counter and eat a piece of apple pie and ice cream at midnight? The waitress will not shame your body; she will ask you if you want extra whipped cream. Cooks and waiters are sensitive to all lifestyle choice: “Cream or sugar with your coffee?” Regular or decaffeinated? White, wheat or rye toast? Hash-browns or homemade fries? Bacon, sausage or ham? How do you want your eggs to be cooked? Fries OK as a side dish? ‘

How about a “mini bread” that goes with a three-egg omelet? Or a cinnamon bun the size of your head that is also considered a “side” although served with a steak knife?

Restaurants and truck stops offer both comfort food and simple old-fashioned comfort. It makes sense that tired truck drivers and lonely road travelers for hours and hours are looking for a place where they feel right at home, a place where they can relax and be themselves without having to worry. politically correct pronouns or other societal charades.

It’s hard to worry, for example, as Lizzo did recently during a Ted Talk, that twerking was popularized by Miley Cyrus and not a black woman, when you only have 10 hours. to pick up and transport a load of anthracite coal to a steel mill in Roanoke (conversation heard at West Branch Dairy Diner).

The waitresses in these establishments are usually women with thick skin who work long hours serving people from all walks of life. You never know who will walk into a rural restaurant when it’s the only place to eat for miles. Or in a truck stop which is the only place open late. These ladies have heard and seen it all. If you want to talk about what a Nancy Pelosi bitch is, or that time your cousin put an elk in a sack, or why Dale “won’t stop chatting” on the BC, they’ll listen to you.

What these ladies lack in superficial niceties, they make up for by pouring animal names. Everyone is “darling”, “darling” or “baby”. They give as well as they get from former early risers and their irreverent one-liners who show up in groups each morning with their papers to gossip and talk about how the country is going to hell in a hand basket. And they are as naive to passing city dwellers as they are to regulars.

Restaurants and truck stops tend to attract peasants who appreciate the food’s affordability and simple style, and old-fashioned conservative principles are what you’ll hear about. But that doesn’t mean progressives won’t find their place at the table. Most of the time, these restaurants serve as a group therapy session, where people (even strangers) talk about real and regular problems that ignore politics: the fear of such, the big football game, who lives in their home. , etc. .

And while the occasional yuppies / progressives / hipsters / liberals / pansexuals wander around every now and then, they may not like what they hear. But everyone is treated the same, because we’re all here for the same reason: oily, oily, sweet goodness that doesn’t identify with anything else.

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