Friday, August 12, 2005

Lost in America

This week, the powers that be have seen fit to send the Bunny out into our nation's heartland. A little fieldwork is good for the soul now and again because we tend, in our business anyway, to get a little myopic from time to time and someplace else drives home the notion that the perfect mocha grande latte is a priority that you and you alone have.

'Course 'round here, that priority is the amount of sausage gravy your biscuits will hold. Coffee is an aside beverage that loosens up and flushes down all that caloric goo that is going to beeline for your weakest arterial wall and hang loose.

"Morning hon. How quick or slow do you want to eat yourself to death today?" It helps to be reading The Virgin Suicides at breakfast. You tend to push that last rash of bacon aside and focus on getting out at noon for a brisk walk.

Or as I did, take the rental car for a spin down the bike path because you took another wrong turn in the dark. Good thing I have cats as pets. They have taught me the "meant to do that all along" affectation that makes me seem just a little less of an east coast idiot in a rented Grand Am.

The hotel is nice as far as children's projects of matchsticks and construction paper go. It has been unceremoniously plopped into the middle of an Indiana cornfield to serve the something traveler (why we can't just all go downtown is beyond me) and kind of stands as a monument to wasted farmland. Here's a tear: In 1900, forty five percent of the average family budget went to feeding themselves. In 2001, that percentage has dropped to five. We are eating more, cheaper, worse food and growing fatter on it. Oh, and we are throwing out what we don't want by the ton.

Try something. Go to your local market. Just once a week, buy something fresh and locally grown. Let me know how much better it tastes. There is nothing wrong with increasing agricultural efficiency to be able to feed more mouths. There is something wrong with government subsidies perverting the entire free market just so we can have cherries in January.
No kidding. My cycling friend who sits at the opposite political pole of me nods in hearty agreement when we get to talking about food and agriculture.

Back to the hotel though, it is probably about eight years old and seems to be sinking into a soft spot in the earth. Wallpaper in corners is stretched and crazed as it gets pulled away from itself. The TV seems too heavy for the floorboards to hold it. Got in last night to watch the last hour of Man on Fire and Denzel Washington's performance was too intense for the windows to hold up to. They subsequently blew out. Or was that the tornado warning siren?

Anyway, got to upgrade. There's a Holiday Inn across the 18 lane motor speedway that I'll check into next time I'm out here. It's a step up and it has a restaurant and a bar with a cute, plump little barkeep to talk to.

This part of the state is flat and hot and filled with well meaning and friendly people. Back east could use an infusion of Hoosiers to lighten things up and add some civility to the place but I suspect that even they would turn surly once they saw the price of real estate. Here, on the other hand, I am awash in the classiest little craftsman bungalos with tapered pillars and quartersawn oak flooring just begging for restoration. After a friend of mine spent about a year looking for that perfect little first home and finally finding a pretty good place except for "CLUB BERLIN", the industrial hip hop club in the basement, I want to call her from out here. Tear up your contract, bring money and let's scoop up a couple of these places before paneling and acoustic ceilings get to them first! And it's dirt cheap and it's a sweet little town but for heaven's sake, there's no place fancier than an Applebee's to eat!!

Great architecture going to waste just to keep gastronomic homogenity alive. Somebody ought to do something.

If you're ever in Indiana and you drive through a little town with picture perfect bungalos where folks sit out on the porch digesting the fine locally grown meal they just had downtown at "Bunny's", you know somebody did.

Hey, a boy can dream. Can't he?

Bunny on.


Blogger Thimbelle said...

I am a Child of The Plains. I grew up with the wind on my face, the prairie that stretched to the never-ending horizon, and a charming little Craftsman cottage as home.

Come on out here, City Bunny, and live a charming life with us Heartlanders.

I'll even give you my favorite empty jar to catch fireflies in.

T. :)

2:11 AM  
Blogger Kathryn said...

we drove all the friggin way to Osoyoos for peaches last weekend and tonight we canned them --- am all for buying locally!!! (but living in the prairies? maybe not ...)

3:17 AM  

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