Sbarro© and 2-for-$20 Sunglasses? No thanks, I’ll just take a Cinnabun© and bullet in the face.
I had the pleasure of driving the length of Garden State Parkway this weekend. When the urge for coffee struck, I pulled into one of the convenient and toll-free highway rest stops. I never got coffee (the line was 30 people long), but was reminded of one of life’s eternal mysteries.
Where do the people at highway rest stops come from?
Much like international waters, I’ve come to realize that rest stops are controlled by no sovereign body. There is no law and no single ruling party. Inhabitants obey a loose doctrine set forth by the managers of Sbarro© and the guy selling cell phone accessories. It’s an ugly place. It makes the exploding bladder you had at exit 43 seem like a pretty decent time.
Amidst the chaos, the rest stop offers the weary traveler a number of guaranteed opportunities. Feel free to nod in agreement as you read each.
- The chance to witness a thousand, 300lb people speaking some rare Yugoslavian dialect and blocking your access to bathrooms, doorways, and food.
- The chance to witness the three thousand, 200lb progeny of said one thousand, 300lb parents, running a la chicken-sans-head and blocking your access to bathrooms, doorways, and food.
- The chance to wait 3 minutes as the token foreign tourist family, 23 members strong, stands in the doorway and argues over the many brochures and maps they possess.
- The chance to wait, as the person in front of you pays for their Big Boy meal in nickels drawn from a fanny pack, also known as “Satan’s Wallet”
- The chance to pay a dollar to turn you penny into one of these:
- The chance to feel sad about spending a dollar to get Lewis and Clark’s face on a penny.
- The chance to have your Americanicity questioned by legions of Bald-Eagle-t-shirt clad Ameicanites. You’ll eat your freedom fries and you’ll like it. Then you’ll drink your America Soda and eat your USA burger. You’ll like each of these, respectively, as well.
- The chance to whiff the putrid scent of sunscreen con B.O. on a minimum of 5 people, all of whom will be wearing a size XXXXL football jersey.
- The chance to traverse floors whose stickiness is the combined result of 57 years of dried Mr. Pibb© soda and Churro© sugar.
- The chance to eat amongst 34 tour bus’fulls of hyperteens, jousting each other with straws, in anticipation of their field trip to the Renaissance Fair.