I just read a headline on the Daily Mail (I know, I know, I get what I deserve): ‘[Singer] Demi Lovato says they are no longer sure they want children — admitting life in their 30s without kids is “pretty nice” — as they open up about coming out as nonbinary and pansexual.’
I rubbed my eyes and put in my monocle. Surely someone for whom English is a second language wrote this article?
I squinted. ‘Demi Lovato is no longer sure that parenthood lies in their future.’
As intrigued as I was to learn more about Demi’s reproductive longings, neither my grammatical standards nor my sanity could take any more. Off I sped as fast as I could to the American Diner to recover my faith in humanity.
The American Diner is a roadside eatery surrounded by a swamp, situated along Route 322, a 200-year-old road cluttered with a few ramshackle buildings and forsaken billboards in the heart of Pennsylvania coal country.
The same family has owned the diner for 50 years. They live out back.
Father and son frequently emerge from the kitchen to the cozy dining room to talk to customers. The discussions are impossible not to overhear.
The room has only a dozen or so tight booths, so if you’ve got a secret to share, this is not the place to do it.
The diner is sort of like an oversized living room, where people join into one another’s conversations between bites of scrapple and sips of hot coffee, shouting across the room from time to time.
Talk ranges from benign musings on the weather — ‘Think it’s gonna rain today? News guy said it was s’posed to, but he’s never been wrong before! Ha ha!’ — to the more topical – ‘PennDOT don’t care about fixin’ them roads when we’re givin’ ‘em free money!’ — to the most unabashed partisan proclamations — ‘I’d like to see Trump run again, with Mike Lindell as his VP this time.’
The American Diner — though particularly quaint with its cheery yellow walls and red and white gingham curtains — is not unique in the free-flowing nature of its patrons’ speech. Every diner and truck stop I’ve ever come across has presented a refreshing refuge to (not from) reality, hard to find in today’s woke world of pretend problems.
Impervious to the affectations of modernity, these restaurants remain bastions of the freedom and honesty America was built upon.
Let’s start with the ambience of these greasy spoons. Autonomy is the first expectation as an overworked waitress doubling as a hostess tells you to ‘Sit wherever you want.’
You settle into a booth, and another inkling that this place is an enterprising embodiment of constitutional freedoms presents itself in the form of a paper placemat and a heavy-duty coffee mug promoting capitalism, the Second Amendment and freedom of religion.
Here, emblazoned on the supplies of one business, are advertisements for a dozen others — typically the most hardcore occupations you can imagine.