19 June 2008

Brain Stains

Well, at least I have a good excuse this time. Traveling.

At the moment I am in a hotel near Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta. No, I am not between flights. Nor am I in Atlanta per se. As odd as it sounds, I am driving to Fort Lauderdale for a conference.

Long story, but one step along the way is spending the night here. And I thought, as long as there is wussy but free wifi I should post something. And hey, it has been a week.

Long distance driving allows a fellow to dwell on some things.

Like how people moan and groan about the cost of gas but still drive like crazy. I figured out that just going 65 instead of 70 improve my mileage by 10% but adds less than 10% to my time on the road. So I did it. You would have thought I was a rock in the road as cars and trucks zoomed by. But I suspect many of these folks are waxing irate at the cost of gasoline. Some of them also supersize their value meals, including a giant diet coke.

But what made me think the hardest today was about my apparently primal my sense of personal outrage about certain things.

Last night I wanted something that was not fast food for dinner, perhaps a glass of wine as well. The desk clerk in Louisville directed me up the road a few miles to a strip with ‘casual dining places’ nothing remarkable, all chains, but nothing on a plastic tray or ordered from a counter.

Every one of the places was jammed full. Parking lots were full, people lolled about outside. I was forced to think the hideous thought of Arby’s, which in this case included a grimy interior marked with water damage. I was livid, almost psychopathic with frustration, growling through gritted teeth about how after eight hours drive there should be at least someplace on a Wednesday night I could go without having to scour the whole metro area. My sense of being deprived of a just thing was almost infantile in its intensity and righteousness.

Something else it going on here, meaning something more what happened last night. In the car today I caught echoes of childhood injustices, abandonment, losses and shames, that all came out like the wriggly snakes from Pandora’s box. Through utterly mundane doors our transcendently powerful demons come through. And what a mess they make.


Marina said...

It's amazing how a visit to a big city can help you realize just how much you appreciate Grand Rapids, no? The ease of access to good, locally-owned restaurants in GR makes the navigation of a new urban area out to be a living hell. Geographically speaking, when looking for a restaurant in a new city, your best bet is to find a neighborhood enclave (meaning get as far away from the commercial district) and walk into a hole-in-the wall kind of joint.

Why do you suppose you became so enraged with that particular debacle? If it really just the lack of slow food? Is it the idea of what these American urban centers represent? Something deeper perhaps?

Marina said...

P.S. Flying Biscuit Café
at 1101 Piedmont Ave, Midtown(404) 849 2283

"Serves all-day breakfasts of omelets, organic oatmeal pancakes, fried green tomatoes and tasty grits, all accompanied by their justifiably famous fluffy biscuits. A diverse, happy crowd enjoys the rest of the vegetarian-friendly menu of black bean quesadillas and veggie burgers."

It also helps to consult a Lonely Planet or Moon Guide when traveling. :-) Cheers!

WFW said...

It's not about the food, actually, but about some deeply established infantile sense of being deprived.

I have had the same weird rage about other things too. Only this time I had a long time to think about it.

Now, where is the 404 area code so I can find this flying biscuit place. Sounds fine.

Marina said...

It's amazing how deeply engrained childhood experiences are. One of the most intriguing aspects of being on a spiritual journey, in my mind, is that of exploring the values and attitudes we've learned; as well as the conclusions we come to about ourselves as a result of our upbringing. It's so important to challenge the chains of assumptions and conclusions we come to in order to know where our childlike behaviors originate and stopping those that are destructive to us. Releasing these attitudes that block our journey is like freeing our hearts. I love it!

After a little more investigation I realized the Biscuit place is in actuality a chain restaurant. Lonely Planet online is not as trustworthy as the books (even tips in those must be taken with a grain of salt). I suggest going on a walk and getting yourself lost in a neighborhood though, that's the best way to travel.