Scenes from an American Diner

Here is a post I pulled out of my draft pile.

Back in the late seventies or maybe the early eighties, Billy Joel had a song titled “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant”. Unfortunately, I don’t have any Italian Restaurants near me so I can’t describe any scenes from them. I suppose I could go to the nearest chain Italian Restaurant but is that really Italian? We had a nice Italian restaurant here in town, one that had been here for a long time. But the owner passed away recently and now it sits empty, no bottles of red, no bottles of white.

There is one restaurant not far from me, that has an Italian name, and it was actually started by an Italian, but he sold it and now, well it isn’t quite the same. There are lots of pizza joints, but they aren’t owned or run by people of Italian descent.

So instead of getting scenes from an Italian Restaurant, I can do the next best thing and go to good old-fashioned American Diners. I love local diners. Whether they are classic “railroad car” diners, or just small diners in an old brick building on Main Street, USA, I will always choose to eat in them whenever I can. And of course, I will sit at the counter.

In the past, I have complained about GPS and using them. But now after spending time behind the dirty windshield I love to zoom in on my location on Google Maps and find the nearest diner. In the last month, I have had the opportunity to go to some places I haven’t been to in a long time, and even some places I have never been. In each of these places, I found some pretty neat diners.

The best part of eating in these places isn’t the food, although if it’s good that’s a bonus, but it’s the atmosphere and the people. The locals. Last week I was sitting at the counter in a diner in upstate New York and over at the corner table was the law. He wasn’t wearing a uniform but he had his gun and badge prominently displayed on his belt. He was having lunch with the local prosecutor, or at least I assumed he was the local prosecutor. If he wasn’t he should be.

The waitress was having a problem getting the television to work. It would go on, then fade out. She would go to her phone, load up the Sirius app, and put on some nice 70’s rock. As soon as the music went on, back came the TV. The news anchor would go on with her story, the waitress would close her app, and the TV would go out. This scene was repeated five times while I ate my breakfast. All through this she never lost her smile.

I’m not sure if she was able to get the electronic situation worked out, but as I got back behind the dirty windshield, I heard a gunshot. I think it was from inside the building…

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