Voting Day Tuesday: Is it Breadlines or Fine Dining?

What is real and what is not?

Voting Day Tuesday, so I better get out and pay witness to the wasteland, where gas prices have soared into the $4-5 dollar range, so we are told, where everyone is bare-assed broke, famished, desperate for a break from the blistering grind of a busted economy.

Where to start?  Call The Stoneman, my dude, Paulie Stone. Find us a place to knock back some homespun grub and a few drinks, work the week out of our systems. Shouldn’t be too difficult. Who can afford to go out and spend money when everyone is scrapping by on pennies in this near Depression?

But first, I should gas up. Now, where to fill a tank for anything under $4 around these parts?  We hear it all the time, the skyrocketing gas prices, the milk, the cheese. But I must be riding with Mama’s luck, because here I am in Pembroke, and I can fill up for $2.74 a gallon. Must be a scam. Keep going.  Don’t buy into the hunt!

Here’s another pump house, this time in Hooksett, selling at $2.73 a gallon.  Something is off.  If the bar is set at $5 a gallon, even four, and people are selling it for under $3, isn’t that a win for everyone, blue or red?  Maybe not in some circles. Kind of kills the message. I’m getting gas anyways.  

Paulie picks me up and he’s hungry for a steak.  I could eat a beer, so off to Makris Lobster and Steak House in Concord we go, a great place to unwind, settle in with the working crowd, kick around a few ideas over food and drink.   

This is odd. The parking lot at Makris is PACKED. Slammed and crammed. We walked in, scanned the joint, noticed that every seat was taken at the bar, every table taken with at least four people, even the side bar tables were all occupied, except for two seats. Which we opt out of due to our collected vibe killing sensibilities.  

It seems the crushing economy skipped right past Makris and laid a great big kiss on their forehead, at least on this Friday night. Good for them. Good for us. Good for the economy. People are spending.  

But how?

Stoneman has the hangries now. “Let’s go to Longhorn Steakhouse,” I say. “Sit at the bar.  Nice place, shouldn’t be busy.”  Paulie snarls and drives.  

From Loudon Road I can see Longhorn is filled to the brim. The lot is loaded with cars, every spot, even the ones we looped past and lost quickly. Paulie offers to run in, see if we can get on a waiting list, but I plead for him not to break me away from the things I do not know.  

I’m spitting with confusion at Paulie now, who has completely tuned me out.  

“The economy is under siege, my good man!  Take me to the real world!”   

“We’re going to El Rodeo,” is all Paulie says. Mmmm… chorizo.  

I look over at Applebee’s as we pull out and they’re crushing it too.  We considered giving it a shot but settled back into the confusion of what is real and what is not.   

We pop our heads into El Rodeo for good measure, and the joint is teeming with prosperity – people waiting, drinking, spending, fajitas steaming, onions sizzling, every face in the place oozing with satisfaction.  Too much satisfaction.

“You like sushi?” Paulie says.

Moritomo Japanese Steakhouse was elbows deep in lovers of raw delicacies.  The back of the house, the bar, the private rooms, front room, stockinged feet were everywhere!

A kind face led us to a small table next to the sushi bar, where we shared tea, soups of shrimp and boiling broth, slabs of raw fish coated in wasabi sauce, neither of us curious about the state of the nation, instead in the state of our being, of what we saw and felt around us.

Unity tied to consumption. 

Eat up, people.  Looks like we’re doing just fine.

Voting Day Tuesday: Is it Breadlines or Fine Dining?


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