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Topic: Paths (05/17/04)
TITLE: Headlong into Hunger
By Gary Sims
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I was not only struggling with the convoluted pathways in New England called highways, but my blood-sugar levels were getting out of control. I needed to eat and the sooner the better. I was already past mere hunger. The day-long flight from Phoenix with nothing more than coffee, fruit juice, and pretzels had my system on edge. I would be suffering the roller-coaster ride of insulin imbalance for the next 24 hours. But I could not find a restaurant.
“Doesn’t anyone eat in New England? Why is it so difficult to find s simple place to eat?”
I had lived my entire life in the west, the land of the grid-pattern-street systems. Find a busy street, drive for a mile or two until it intersects with another busy street and you are certain to find at least a restaurant, convenience store, and two gas stations. You know where you’re headed out west. North is north. No surprises. Perhaps there will be an occasional curve as a road confronts a mountain or a developer’s nightmarish cul-de-sac jigsaw puzzle, but most of the time, if you want to go north, north you go.
The rental car sped around another promising curve. There were indications, certainly hope, that a commercial neighborhood lay ahead. One business, a tire repair shop, and a tavern… Maybe the next curve… No! No luck! More curves, trees, and homes. “Ah hah! An intersection. This road appears busier. Maybe if I turn here it will lead to the meal of my dreams.” A New England meal…chowder, cod. Something, anything, with protein and carbs; something that will ease the tension building within.
The odometer clicks off the miles and still nothing. “How far have I strayed from the hotel? Will I be able to find my way back? Should I have gone into that bar a few minutes ago? It must have had food of some kind. Maybe I should have asked for directions at the hotel. It always seems lame to ask. I wonder how many times they have to answer the question: ‘Do you know where to find a good restaurant?’ What made them experts in New England cuisine? How hard could it be to find food on my own? People need to eat. We all need sustenance. Certainly I am capable of finding food without any help.”
Thirty minutes and twenty-miles later, I’m still looking. Frustration has turned into desperation. The chemical imbalance in my body is approaching dangerous levels. Another curve, another hope, and another disappointment. “I really should have asked for directions. What’s this ahead? Isn’t that my hotel? How did I end up back here?”