Tuesday, January 4, 2011

McDonald's, Side-of-the-freeway'ville, MA

Am I an out-of-towner pretending to be a townie or a townie pretending to be an out-of-towner? In this place and this situation, even I can't tell. I'll play whichever card feels more convenient.

I've got a couple library books with me. Yehuda Amichai, Even a Fist was Once an Open Palm With Fingers; Charles Baudelaire, Flowers of Evil. A McDonald's in the middle of nowhere with my laptop and a stack of poets. This is indulgent. I'm indulgent. (And along that vein, Bridges of Madison was actually pretty bad. Robert Kincaid started it out interesting...and that was it.)

Truth is, I was hungry on my way home, and after driving up and down the freeway for 10-15 miles, this was the only place I could find that was still open. All this effort because I didn't want to drive the 20 miles to IHOP in Cambridge. Everything closes early here, except for me. I'm open for business into all hours of the night, but never in the mornings before 10:00 AM. And I just spent 20 bucks on fast food--I am one of maybe 3 people I know that would do something like that. A stranger who once kept a blog wrote that his hobby was eating alone at McDonald's and hating himself for it. Am I coming into that? I hope not.

The Mexican women running the joint are pulling dresses for their nieces out of plastic bags and conversing in Spanish about the colors and how they'll fit. One of them has ended her shift, she bids the others good night and walks out, the cleaning lady moves along with her mop, Billy Davis, Jr. is playing over the speakers, strangers walk in with cold, walk out with coffee, the night grinds on. I'm digging up poets and reading their wisdom, ecstasy and nonsense again. It's a vicious cycle. A month from now I'll be creating problems that don't exist and brooding in some corner of my world about a version of me or a version of "her" that doesn't exist. This is indulgent. I pray over my double-quarter-pounder-with-cheese and dig in. End inner monologue.

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