If I walk 8 blocks to Dairy Barn, and then order a large vanilla swirl with crushed M&Ms, and then walk the 8 blocks back, the exercise and the swirl pretty much cancel each other out, right?
What more classic Mid-West scene could one paint than that which unfolds every night at Dairy Barn? Dark-blonde farmers in NASCAR t-shirts pull up in American pickups, and discharge the family onto the gravel parking lot: light-blonde kids and a Revlon 91-blonde wife ($6.99 at Walmart—the Revlon, not the wife). The kids repeat their order to mom again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again to make sure mom gets it right. Mom contemplates what the hell happened to her life as she places the family’s order with the zit-faced teenage girl who is working for less than minimum wage at this happy, family-owned business. The teenage girl takes the order, and as she starts assembling the various tasty desserts, silently laughs to herself “That will NEVER be me!” The order fulfilled, the family occupies one of several wooden picnic tables out front, next to the highway.
The husband watches the highway, U.S. Highway 6, which actually runs coast-to-coast. If the husband got in the truck right now and headed east, he could be in Chicago by midnight, away from the mortgage on the home and the loan payments on the pickup and the damned boss, and even away from his own wife, who’s figure has just never rebounded from the third child in five years and who now seems tired, entirely lacking that amazing spark of life that so captivated him back in high school, as she was giving him a hand job under the football field bleachers. How did she evolve into this woman? What happened? And, maybe if he stays here, whatever it was will happen to him too.
Dessert eaten, the kids climb on the tractors at the farm implement dealership next door. Mom yells at the kids to get down, but doesn’t get up from the picnic table for whatever reason. Her yells echo over the heads of the other patrons, many of whom have kids who will soon be climbing on those same tractors later. As the sun sinks slowly in the west, a gentle pink and purple hue paints the entire scene. The yellow flourescent light hums audibly above the windows where you place your order. Out in the back of the gravel parking lot, teenagers are laughing and talking too loudly and trying to convince each other (and themselves) that they have the world figured out. The hum of mosquitos mixes with the hum of the flourescent light and the hum of the bug zapper, which doesn’t actually attract mosquitos but the owners and most of the patrons don’t know that, so everyone feels a little safer, just like you’re supposed to at the airport despite similar problems.
Hey Ben…This may come as a surprise, but the purpose of Yelp isn’t to act as a surrogate online correspondence creative writing course. What. The. Fuck. Are. You. Thinking.