Yesterday I drove with my friend and his wife to visit our other friend... and his wife. The guys and I (I, who is quite obviously a guy despite my currently silky smooth face) had our regularly scheduled "Man Day." We played video games all day. I completely and totally dominated at Hero Academy, available for the iPhone and iPad. It's like chess, but better. I'm so addicted.
I often become introspective and thoughtful when I've been around my friends all day, it's dark outside, and I've been drinking- not that I'd had a ton... just a 32 oz. Miller Lite (because sometimes is just hits the spot) and a Sam Adams over the course of an entire day... but the point being, I was feeling restless and frustrated and the ride home took over an hour.
At one point my friend made a wrong turn onto the wrong highway. He may have made multiple wrong turns, I don't know. I couldn't tell. Every couple miles I felt like it was deja vu; there was a Lowe's or Home Depot, some combination of McDonald's, Wendy's, KFC, Little Caesar's, Chipotle, Sonic, an AT&T store, maybe a Ross or TJ Max, some combinations of grocery stores, and a Walmart... it was just the same. One after the other. Nothing changes.
Last year I was eating lunch in the teacher work room (not a "lounge," seriously) with my coworkers when we got on the topic of Fuzzy's Tacos and how they're springing up everywhere. I said that I used to like them when I only knew about their Arlington location, but didn't think they were anything special anymore now that they're everywhere. She told me that I was a "food snob," and at the time I had to agree. The more I think about it, though, it's not that I'm a food snob per say (beer, yeah, probably), it's just that I don't want to see the same things everywhere I look. Quite honestly I like the way the food tastes at Fuzzy's, McDonald's, KFC, and stopped for a Cherry Limeade at every Sonic I saw on my first bike trip to keep me moving.
There's a fine line to walk, to be sure, and I definitely don't want to begrudge successful companies and franchises their success, but how do you balance the desire for something comforting and familiar with the desire to have things local and unique? Look around. Really, is this how?
At the bottom of this is a world- or at least a country- of vanilla. The same things everywhere. Even the local bar that I go to every Tuesday is one of two. They opened a second Pepe's Pizza when I was a senior. My favorite beer bar, the Flying Saucer, is one of fifteen scattered across six states, and my favorite Chicago pizzaria has two locations. It's a losing battle, and one that I'm clearly on the wrong side of, but there are already people who never go to a place that isn't one of many. How long until we're all those people?
My meal today was a Brat and Salad. It was good.
1 Green Bell Pepper
1 Medium Onion
I didn't add any oil. I just sliced all the Onion and Green Bell, let it sizzle for a minute, and then plopped on my Brats until they finished cooking. Serve on a Wheat Bolillo Roll with a Pickle Wedge, Mustard, and Cheese. My salad had Cherry Tomatoes and a Hard Boiled Egg. Enjoy.