Tag Archives: mcdonald’s

Meditation or a Big Mac?

3 May

Quick reappearance in world of blogs – as lightning finally strikes outside, breaking through a muggy New York night – to describe two radically contrasting approaches to life that hit me in the face today.

The first, I just saw on the BBC News website:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8652837.stm

This shows a hermit in India who claims to have lived for as many as 70 years without food or drink, having created enough energy to live through the power of meditation and his mind. As the BBC writes:

The holy man claims that he derives energy through meditation

The Indian army has now apparently installed a surveillance camera in his hospital room to see if his claims add up. To date, he’s on 108 hours under supervision without any food or water (and without passing any urine or stools).

The second: Walking home past a long line of motorists waiting in their cars to buy McDonald’s at a Drive-Through on Broadway, Bronx, New York.

That annoyingly true phrase “You are what you eat” came to mind.

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.

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