Allegory of the Cave - 2023
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS AND PEOPLE OF ALL SEXES DESPITE WHAT THE SCIENCE SEZ...WELCOME TO SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT, ANOTHER FORAY INTO PODCASTING MEDIOCRITY. BRIAN WILSON'S MY NAME, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE SO WITH THE INTRODUCTIONS OUT OF THE WAY...LET'S GET STARTED WITH THE...
Allegory of the Cave – 2023
If you're not familiar with the essentials of Plato's 'Allegory of the Cave”, then maybe you saw 'The Truman Show'. If neither Plato or Truman, click here and here and come back.
For reasons irrelevant to what follows, for more than a decade, the Wilsons have lived a life oxymoronically described as Modern Eremites, more commonly known as 'hermits'.
No, we didn't/don't dwell in caves or eschew modern amenities; we enjoy our Toyotas, central ac, and indoor plumbing. Wife Cassie has a kitchen 'to die for' where she makes miracles every evening. Neither are we Luddites; we're AOK with all things modern – except two.
We don't travel and we rarely socialize. There's a boatload of background and context to explain that. For example, 'travel' in this context means air travel. We don't and we won't. The reasons should be obvious to those who do. Our 'social life' is extremely limited due to having few geographically close friends or family. Decades in the Broadcasting biz required a nomadic life chasing better jobs in bigger markets with bigger paychecks. By middle age, most people have their daily routines and particular circle of friends. The schedules and demands of careers in radio/tv are not conducive to a great social life.
So what do Plato and some old cave have to do with this?
Well, recently, the Wilsons left our Deep South 'cave' and ventured into the light of Real World 21st Century America, Far beyond our local runs to Winn Dixie, Lowes and Chug-A-Lug Wines and Spirits, this would be a 2400-mile round trip road trip to PA with a side order of NJ and back (of course). Our itinerary would take us through portions of Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, W. Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
This is where the Cave analogy comes in...
Having rarely ventured more than an hour or two from Home Sweet Home for 10-15 years, this would be a real educational experience to the 'outside world' - “As Seen On TV!”; to step outside the cave and behold Reality a la Plato and Truman.
In summation, here's what we found: we're doomed!
Highways: Generally good physical condition, driving our Interstate highways have become a cross between the Talladega Speedway and your local Demolition Derby. 70Mph is the new 60; 80mph the new 70. Irrespective of speed, traffic or weather, Tailgating is the new pastime, second only to Serpentine Weaving only a Lime Rock contender could love. No worries - there are still a good number of Florida and Michigan AARP Members throwing down the challenge of maintaining a steady 55 in the fast lane while ignoring the 3-mile back-up right behind. At Rest Stops and Super Gas Stations, Wal-Mart Casual remains de rigueur.
Motels: 'Back in the day' (circa 2005-ish), we would make reservations at a certain chain of 'courtyards'. They were dependably good in all departments: room size, comfort, amenities, front desk personnel. Key word in the previous sentence: “were”. Out of 6 stays in 6 days, not one measure of consistency was found. Room size – good, but the a/c was stuck on Meat Locker. Pleasant personnel- but bath towels made of sandpaper. Comfortable bedding – but the Hell's Angles Convention was in the next room. And hallway. If this is the new Standard of Mediocrity the Top Shelf motels are providing, I wonder how anyone survives the Rouch Rouge chain.
Restaurants: Fast food places must enjoy their popularity because no one wants to put up with the New Attitude now oozing from what used to be independent restaurants. “Ever since COVID...is the plaintive Excuse of the Day from the manager. Maybe. Somewhat. But for all its downsides (real or imagined), no virus ever caused and perpetuated a rotten attitude; poor service comes from poor training and unrealistic beliefs about wages. Sadly, patrons have slipped from Cultured to Neanderthal, especially among the nuevo-riche 20 – 40 set. An exceptional, award-winning fine dining establishment in Ramsey, New Jersey which I enthusiastically patronized since 1989, had morphed into a college-town beer hall, replete with screeches and screams from 14 dazzling females, celebrating without restraint or regard for other diners in the immediate vicinity trying in vain to hold convivial conversations while enjoying the fabled entrees. No management personnel came by to ask for consideration or restraint. Since my last visit and the death of my friend and owner, Chef Kevin Kohler, Cafe Panache had morphed into Chuckie Cheese. Sad. Friends around the country tell me this, too, is the New Normal.
When including reports of extreme corruption within the political apparatus inside Washington, societal regression appears to be picking up speed to the detriment of the Republic and everyone in it.
This isn't to say the entire trip was a time warp into the Spanish Inquisition. Indeed, there were bright spots along the way: an excellent sushi dinner in Knoxville, a couple cool Amish roadside stands with some really great tomatoes, a friendly, polite, efficient assistant manager, Dave, at Total Wine & More, a 20-something who actually said 'Thank You' for holding a door open for her. (I still don't understand how “No problem” replaced “You're welcome” in common parlance.)
Overall, our out-of-the-cave visit into Reality 2023 wasn't as shocking as it might have been had not the aberrations above been low-lighted in what passes for 'News', social media or Reality Shows. Seeing it in the light of day was more depressing than scary. Plato was correct, though, when he postulated those seeing Reality would not be able to convince those back in the cave they were watching the shadows they preferred.
THAT'LL WRAP IT UP LIKE A DEAD FISH FOR THIS EPISODE OF SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. I'LL BE BACK LATER DRAGGING MY ALLEGED PARTNER, JIM BOVARD KICKING AND SCREAMING WITH THE LATEST FROM THE TWO AND ONLY. BE SURE TO JOIN US...AND TO MAKE THAT EASIER, SIMPLY POUND THE SUBSCRIBE BUTTON A FEW TIMES AND NOTIFICATION OF THIS DRIVEL WILL INVADE YOUR INBOX WITH PLENTY OF TIME TO AVOID WHATEVER COMES NEXT.
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