@ John Hartranft

everything is miscellaneous

Choices Simplified

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Had an opportunity to experience a piece of Americana yesterday while on the road in Pennsylvania.

Because no rooms were available on Satuday night in the town where I am hanging out this week, my “chosen” place to stay was about 30 miles away for one evening.
Not bad.  It’s clean, except for a bunch of dust from renovation work.  Had the smell of fresh paint.  Lots of cable channels on the TV, and wireless Internet access.  I had the choice to work at night using the Internet connection.  That’s good.  Had a nice view of beautiful mountains and some farms nearby…. and the Interstate.  Classic central PA. 
My choices for dinner:  A truck stop across the road, a subway in a gas station, a McDonald’s, Perkins, or a cute place called “The Cottage”.  I chose to eat at The Cottage.  It was about 300 yards away… to close to drive, and I needed the walk after driving much of the day, so I tucked  my book under my arm and walked down the hill to the restaurant.
Inside, the place was decorated with vinyl paneling, formica tables, county crafts, and the smell of animal fat.  The hostess told me I could sit wherever I wished.  Ahhh… more choices!  I chose to sit in a big booth by the big window in the front…looking out at the truck stop across the road.  Twangy country music was on the radio. 
The menu wan’t bad.  Typical food from the grill… grilled cheese, hamburgers, turkey and mashed potatoes, etc.  I chose the most expensive item on the menu:  New York strip steak for 13.95.  I am living the high life.  Also, baked potato and lima beans, salad, and a dinner roll.  There was a remarkable amount of butter that came with the one dinner roll.  I could choose to put a lot of butter on the roll I wanted to.  Before I could even begin to to eat, the waitress asked if everything was good.   I chose to answer “yes”.
I couldn’t finish the amount of food they gave me…just too much….and I was so full.  After finishing my final bite, the lights flickered.  Tornado warnings, the people were saying in the restaurant.  Looks like some wicked storms coming through.  Lightning crashed all around, and the raindrops were as big as the glop of butter at the bottom of my tummy.  My choices were to  run back uphill to the hotel and risk a heart attack, walk and be pummeled by rain and risk getting struck by lightning, or stay and risk eating 5,000 more calories of butter.
The bus wasn’t running….. so I ran…. All the way up that hill….300 yard to the hotel.  Gasp gasp.  Had I known… I would have ordered a power shake and energy bar.  Ummm… yeah, right.  Back safely in my hotel room, the Internet connection was now down.  No work will get done.  My choices were to watch cable TV or read.  And digest. 
I can say this.  My experience did not set the world on fire.  Can’t say that my life is richer because I discovered the joys of no Internet, truck stop culture, stormy weather, and indigestion.  But I am happy for the new adventure, and how fun it can be to live simply among fewer choices…at least once in a while.

Written by johnhartranft

07/12/2009 at 11:47 pm

Posted in Images, travel

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