The list of unknown items I’m eating is growing daily: grits & patties and other such items not familiar to a European boy. The items on the Chinese restaurant menu from last night were more recognisable than those in the diner. Asking a waitress what any of these are results in a stare as though I’d just held up a knife and fork and asked the same question. I’ve been eating in diners along the way and as I head further inland I notice waitresses names become more outlandish, almost as though they leave their real identities at the door and are then allowed to choose from a selection of name tags inspired by some Netflix fantasy series . I’ve been served eggs and sausage (and grits and patties) by a succession of Ravens, Verlanas, Kambers and Destinys. This morning’s waitress called Sue is obviously new and not yet allowed to take part in the game.
“I’m losing my shirt!” shouts the man sitting next to me at the diner counter. He leans over and points to the stock exchange app on his phone where the offending figure is in red. He continues to mutter about thousands lost in ill-advised investments in a Botox company. Turns out he’s a retired French horn player from the Philadelphia philharmonic orchestra. Still on the road long after life on the road is long over. Turns out we both have no idea where we are, town or state. GPS or Satnav is ruling our destiny to such an extent that we no longer need to know where we are; we follow the blue line on the screen and pull off for refreshments knowing that the blues line will still be there to guide us when we get back behind the wheel.
As I’m passing through places I like to try and shift my ‘stranger in a strange town’ perspective and remember that all this is someone’s daily reality, boringly familiar and mundane to the point of invisibility. That street corner, those steps, that bus stop are all part of someone’s psychic geography. My own blue line leads out of town so it’s time to head to the home of aviation for a late night gig at Hannah’s in Dayton Ohio.
French version published daily on the ROCK MADE IN FRANCE website