a bus ride through an American fast-food, chain-store hell

2 Mar

I found myself on an agonisingly slow, very local bus last night, as one stage of a very long-winded journey to get home.

The bus took me through a string of unfamiliar commuter towns north of the Bronx, a surreal urban landscape I was only vaguely aware of at the start of the journey, being distracted as I was by the burblings of my I-pod and my meandering, slightly morose thoughts.

But as the bus lurched on interminably, my attention switched to what was going on outside the grimy window – and I found myself transfixed at the pure ugliness of the passing landscape. This was nothing but an American fast-food, chain-store dystopia. All I could see was an endless series of Dunkin’ Donuts, Wallgreens Drug Stores, McDonald’s, Baskin Robbins, Starbucks, Burger King, KFC…

I started to think the bus driver must be playing tricks with me and was going round in circles, because every time I got distracted and looked up again, there was another bloody Dunkin’ Donuts. Was someone teaching me a horribly cruel karmic lesson? Was I bound to remain trapped in this endless doughnut-shaped loop of fast food joints ?

And every single one of these depressingly uniform fast-food joints flashed that ubiquitous sign: OPEN 24 HOURS. Why do people need 24-hour access to doughnuts is my question? Can’t all those sorry, tired workers, paid a pitiful pittance of an hourly rate, just hang up their aprons and go home to bed? Would the world really fall apart at the seams?

This was a landscape where drive-thru, convenience, fast food and an overriding ugliness reigned supreme.

This was, I quickly decided, just the America I wanted to avoid.


One Response to “a bus ride through an American fast-food, chain-store hell”


  1. this time a lovely friendly bus ride – New York is redeemed :-) « rebeccainspace - March 4, 2010

    […] rebeccainspace Rebecca's adventures in the New World « a bus ride through an American fast-food, chain-store hell […]

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