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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Meanwhile Elsewhere In Pennsylvania

Wry observations from a traveler at the other end of this vast state:
Hotel at which we're staying--right off the interstate in Scranton, designed by an architect from the Banality School--is catering, this weekend, to metalheads and NASCAR devotees (big race at Pocono Downs this afternoon, I take it). Downright Felliniesque, especially the scene around the waffle-maker in the breakfast area, the source of, in Jean's words, "a lotta confusion and commotion." Of course, the Scranton area in general is largely made up of the same two demographics. 

When it comes to style, total win for the metalheads, which is as frightening as it sounds. The NASCAR tribe--with which I'm largely unfamiliar--are clad head to toe in garish t-shirts, depicting either race cars or military aircraft (with the required irascible screaming American eagle), camo-shorts, and checkered-flag bandanas. They're all piling into their cars now lugging at least one oversize cooler and either an infant or a grandma. Last night I sat outside for a spell and watched them waddle in, nearly all of them carrying at least one or two pizzas. Then one pleasant old gent turned around and approached me, smiled, told me "God loves you, through his son the Lord Jesus Christ," and handed me a pic of said son. 

Meaning they're strangers in a strange land here as well. True, this area is as God-besotted as any, but it's all Italian, Polish, and Irish Catholics; all endlessly crossing themselves and muttering prayers and imprecations under their breath all day, but, in true Catholic fashion, not pressing their antique beliefs on anyone else, and largely convinced that God's love is by and large restricted to members of their own national church.

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