2. Rest Stops
What comes to mind when one imagines a rest stop? Besides George Michael. And I don’t mean the well-maintained stops that feature a food court and gift shops. I’m talking about the unattended, quiet ones. These places always feel like danger is lurking in one of the dim bathroom stalls. If I had children, I would tell them, “nothing good is hanging around a rest stop.” Especially off I-95.
3. South of the Border
Dillon, South Carolina. You will see the massive sombrero from 2 miles away. This tourist-y homeage to our Mexican amigos down south is right off I-95 (as are #1 & #2 of this list, hmmmm I think I’m on to something here.). On a family trip to Disneyland, FL (also a strange place if you ask me) my father pulled the station wagon over so we could check out the place and use the restroom facilities. Even at 13 years old, the place just gave me the willies. It was obvious the place had been “the shit” at one point in history, but now it had the same feel as an abandoned theme park. AKA– nothing like the pictures in the brochure that illustrated such a fabulous pit stop, I was excited for the whole 10 hour car-ride there . Everything was old and none of the flashy lights were on. And cheaply maintained. I mean, paint was peeling. It was quiet too. Maybe seven people roaming around, tops? Very strange.
Like a prostitute, Denny’s casual dining establishments are completely unappealing during the light of day, but seem like a decent option around 3 am after drinking all night. Anyways, it’s all drunk people that are just getting out of the cluuubbbssss at that hour, and that in itself is creepy, and shower-worthy.
Listen–there is something so romantic about ferris wheels, cotton candy, the tilt-a-whirl, that god-awful “Gravitron,” and funnel cake. These items are all elements of a carnival, so it is with great regret that I must add carnivals to this list. At one phase in my adolescense, I even fantasized about working for the carnival someday. But now, carnies creep me out. The whole thing just seems unsafe, and no offense to all carnies, but I’ve seen a good portion of them that I dont know if it’s such a great idea they’re operating gravity-defying rides. What a strange life it would be setting up amusement rides/game booths/jumbo slides/food stands night after night, in towns and cities far from home. It still sounds better than a desk job, now that I type out that description. But think about all the “middle of nowhere” places the carnival hits. Imagine touring thru the Bible Belt. That’s a lot of land. There’s a sort of ‘sad’ feeling thrown in my emotional mix whenever Im at a carnival. I don’t know what it is.
The unapologetic 80’s timewarp puts this one as #6. It is awesome too in a way, but I wonder what happened there, sociologically/demographly speaking. It is really interesting. Aqua Net is still alive and well in the confines of Atlantic City, New Jersey. The teased hair, the heavy make-up, it’s all there, standing in every buffet line in the big casinos. I rode in to Atlantic City via the ferry, from some place in Deleware. The guy with the feathered haircut sitting next to me talked about how everyone he knows is going to the upcoming Bon Jovi concert. He was so intense.
The other thing that is painful to see in AC is the coastline completely blocked out by the monsterous casino and resorts. The boardwalk is not exactly flooded with sunlight. It’s sad because the beach is just a background for the people to look out of from their overpriced, sans-balcony room in Suite 47 at Caesar’s Palace. FYI/sidenote: most casinos do not have balconies, or windows that will open, because people have been known to jump after they lose their life savings.)
And the last reason why Atlantic City makes me nervous, is the ‘seedy’ side is just right THERE a few yards from the raunchy run-down looking strip clubs.
Viva Las Vegas!!!!
One time a few offices at work decided to have a lunch meeting/update at Old Country Buffet of all places. It was depressing on many levels. The mass-produced food, being with my co-workers, binging on food before 1pm on a Tuesday…and the other diners were either senior citizens or pissed-off mothers with toddlers.
Plus, if I was going to a buffet, it wouldnt be in the company of women who would absolutely love to see me going back to the buffet 4 or 5 times. Buffets are in ‘close friend ONLY’ zone. Because if I don’t feel comfortable pigging out, I’m wasting money.
Whenever I’ve been at the mercy of public transportation, I see way too much of life.
9. Beach tourist towns during off-season
“This is the coastal town,
That they forgot to close down
Armageddon – come Armageddon!
Come, Armageddon! Come!
Everyday is like Sunday
Everyday is silent and grey”
Romantic. Beautiful. But on a stormy day, the desolation of a place that is so alive may-oct , can be eerie. All the amusement rides shut down, most of the stores on the boardwalk barricaded are closed. Here’s the thing: nothing is lit up anymore. That can make or break a lot of things.
Kind of general, but I’ve watched too many true-life crime shows and read too many books of the same, to not find the woods a bit creepy once in a while. People are either getting lost in them, or killed in them. I guess the isolation factor is what puts mother nature on this list as #10.