Thursday, 21 March 2013

It Must Be Thursday: A Long Road To Travel

The ongoing saga of a weekly That-Was-The-Week-That-Was posting.
Commenting on things that caught my attention for better or for worse and left me shaking my fist at the sky and shouting "Whyyyy!!!" 
After all: until science brings us a better use for Thursdays - what else is there to do?

Douglas Adams once said that the problem with Time Travel is that it has the same effect as travelling abroad:  sooner or later everywhere becomes the same

And I guess it's true - let's face it: if Stephen Hawking was to wake up tomorrow morning and invent a portal to the 15th century then it would only be a matter of time before someone set up a KFC franchise there (free chicken drumstick with every 5th case of Black Death)

I say the above because the other week I had to drive nearly 3 hours for work, getting up in the early hours to ensure that I would be there for a 9am start...only the first hour or so was on the motorway.

After this it was a series of fast A-roads.

And three hours is quite a long time to drive without a break: which means that you are faced with an interesting conundrum: either stop a little too early at the Service Station, or carry on and face mile after mile of featurless and identical branches of an Internationally Known Burger Franchise Formerly Fronted By A Clown

Service Stations are designed to be money pits: draining you of your much needed cash with over-priced drinks, crisps, books, CDs and videos and, most bizarrely of all, charcoal briquettes and children's wet-suits.

I'd love to actually meet someone who bought their child a wet-suit at a motorway service station and ask them why it was that they got half-way to their holiday destination before it suddenly occurred to them that their kids might want to go swimming after all.

Service Stations also only sell audio books and best-of CDs that, in other circumstances, you would never dream of buying - which goes some way to explaining the never-ending career of Olivia Newton-John (It is, it has been said, better to have loved and lost than to listen to an album by Olivia Newton-John)

However, whilst other retail outlets have gone to the floor WH Smiths and Marks & Spencers have flourished - having cleverly placed themselves at locations where customers have no choice but to go to them or carry on driving on an empty stomach.

Also Service Stations always have an Expensive Hot Beverage Dispensary (insert corporate chain of your choice - it is almost always one or the other of the big ones), an eatery that sells anything fried and an array of gambling machines

Back in the day the arcade machines used to contain driving games, which was in itself a bit surreal: you've just driven 200 miles you say?  Well why not have a quick game of Grand Theft Auto before you drive another 200?

But all of this is better than the sheer facelessness of the branches of an Internationally Known Burger Franchise Formerly Fronted By A Clown that litter the rest of my journey - which could easily have been spat out of a cannon and landed fully formed in each location, a sinister clone of the Mother Burger - all leading to a curious feeling of driving for ever and never arriving

Still - we all need to rest, if only to take our weight off the accelerator pedal foot, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be swindled by poor food and expensive coffee. 

Take a packed lunch and a flask and sit in the public area - sticking two metaphorical fingers up to the corporate man


The Bug said...

Mother burger - snort! I hate that chain & refuse to eat there - except for breakfast. I like the McMuffin (well, and obviously the pancakes, but I can't eat those while driving).

P.S. I am enthralled by the book! I have been so busy that I'm only snatching a half hour of reading time during lunch - but it's great!

Michael Burrows said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Burrows said...

What should my first Douglas Adams book be?

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

Michael - that's a tricky question.

The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy is his best known work in five volumes. Generally the first two are regarded to be the best: The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy and The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe - you can get the first four volumes all in one book.

However his two sci-fi detective novels are arguably better written as far as novels go and The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul is my favourite

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

the quote about time-travel comes from either the second or third HHG book