Friday, July 9, 2010

The Matron vs Commerce + He Who Cannot Be Named

Yes, the Matron had several complete psychological breakdowns during the two and a half week epic family road trip, totaling 27,400 miles (not that she's counting) and seven states. Most of these schisms were directly related to the volume in the back of the van, where children were arguing--not a lot, really, but just enough to make her want to rip someone's scalp from the bone.

She was calm that way.

But the one organic, completely internal psychosis involved chain stores. At every stop -- and there were many -- sat a McDonald's, Subway, Wal-Mart, Target, Radio Shack, Super America, Burger King, Wendy's, Arby's and more.

Merrick: "Can we have Buwgew King?"


He Who Cannot Be Named (HWCBN): "Hey!! Hey! One more McDonald's. I can't believe we've been on the road for five days and I haven't eaten at McDonald's. Man."

Matron: "HWCBN, I would consider that statistic a source of pride rather than a bone of contention."

Merrick: "Does 'c-tention' mean we get to eat at McDonald's?"

And so on. The Matron put her pretty little foot down on commerce: no franchises, no chains, no big business. If they had to put food in their bellies? A mom and pop place, even if it meant waiting more than four minutes and eating lard (that happened). In NYC? NO chain stores. Only the hole-in-the-wall delis and local restaurants.

However, halfway into the trip, she relented and allowed the family into the Gap on Times Square. After half an hour of bad music while staring at sterile jeans and white walls, she fell to her knees in rage and cemented her resolve: no big commerce.

And there was none.

HWCBN, yesterday: "Mom? I haven't been to a Target in about three weeks. This is very disorienting. I feel a little queasy."

Matron: "Hearing that observation from you? Me too. The queasy thing."

HWCBN: "You should get off the grid if you feel so strongly, Mom. Seriously. We could grow our own food and generate electricity by solar power. I'd help. It wouldn't be too hard. We could have solar panels, compost all our garbage, raise chickens--maybe a goat or two -- and burn wood. I could learn to sew. It would be completely do-able if we're committed."

Tick-tick, tick, as the Matron considers how much she likes her hair dyer, movies, espresso, shopping, bookstores, air-conditioning, heat and minimal attention to how these things are made possible. She thinks about how she doesn't know where a sewing needle is at the moment and how happy that state makes her. Chickens? Aren't those white lumps in bags at the grocery store? Don't the other, live kind make noise and - poop?

Matron: "Actually, Target's not that bad. We can totally go to one."

HWCBN: "Your predictability makes my life so much easier. Thanks for that."


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I am having flashbacks to the road trip 21 years ago with my husband's family where we stopped at nothing BUT McDonalds. Would that I were exaggerating.

I like your way better.

Anonymous said...

We refer to that overabundance of commerce as "every franchise known to mankind" and I, too, prefer not to patronize them. (We did eat McD's hot fudge sundaes several times on our recent vacation, though.) Every medium- to -largish city has at least one four-lane highway where they repeat every 4 miles. Bleah.

Memarie Lane said...

You should move to New Mexico. Outside Taos there is a whole off-the-grid Earthship community, in easy driving distance to espresso, etc.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

My life lately has been all about the air conditioning.
And that makes Target sound pretty darn good!

Daisy said...

"This is very disorienting. I feel a little queasy." Snicker. Clever of him to use such a descriptive phrase to trigger your predictability.

laurie said...

i woudl love to raise chickens!
but my dogs would kill them.
i'm with you on the mom-and-pop restaurants, though.

FlourGirl said...

HWCBN: "Your predictability makes my life so much easier. Thanks for that." SNORT!!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Mary,

He Who Cannot Be Named is pretty damned clever. I can't imagine a road trip of that duration.


Susan said...

My parents always planned the driving for the middle of the night and pumped us full of dramamine so we would sleep!

I have not attempted a trip linger than 2 days with mine - you are very brave and deserve some time on the grid.

Anonymous said...

He is SO good. Brilliant boy.