A whole different menu

This short piece was submitted to Six Sentence Story with the prompt word of ‘menu’.

I’m driving from Washington, DC to Austin, Texas, imagining myself in every American road movie I’ve ever seen, except it’s all happening on the ‘wrong’ side of the road for an Australian. I discover a new level of terror as I navigate out of the city onto the freeway, where at least there is an expanse of distance between each direction and I get used to the inside and outside lanes being counterintuitive. I overtake another vehicle and return to the correct lane and slap the dashboard to celebrate my graduation from newbie school. I stop for lunch at a truck stop and slide into a booth. I study the menu and a waitress with dyed blonde hair and a distinct shortage of teeth asks me what I’ll have. I give her my order and she looks at me as though I’m speaking Swahili. She says ‘Honey, just point at the pictures and I’ll bring it right over.’

35 thoughts on “A whole different menu

  1. True tale? The narrator is sure to be confounded by the different accents as he heads west southwest. I’ve only been around New South Wales but didn’t find the accents so hard to understand. I have a theory about food quality and pictured food on menus but Im sure whatever you pointed to was very good enough.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Hey, if you made it out of DC unscathed you were off to an excellent start, lol. Can be quite disconcerting driving on the opposite side of the road from what you’re used to. I have mostly pleasant memories driving in the Irish countryside. Thank God for roundabouts 😀

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  3. Accents can be confusing, but i do find if both sides concentrate, and maybe spell some of the more misunderstood words, eventually the meaning becomes clear.

    Someone i knew from England used to say he was always finding himself driving on the wrong side of the road if he had more than two beers.

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  4. Driving in a country, not your own, isn’t always easy, but it sounds like you did it with flying colors. So funny needing to just point at the picture. I suppose just pointing at the picture is faster, and moves the customers in and out faster and makes it more profitable for the business. Just guessing on that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. surely the photography on menus hails from a Circle that Dante forgot to mention… the essence of torment: being hungry confronted with a photo of the most beautiful food, (a secret insight that we miss is that subtext linking ‘beauty’ and ‘satisfaction’*). We were wiser, we’d take closer note of the thickness of the reflective plastic laminate on the bifold album, (which, if we’re lucky, includes a tasseled cord, like we were holding a first edition Tale of Two Cities and knew we could safely mark our place, awaiting the return of our server)… what exactly is the laminate protecting. the photos or us?

    (don’t even get me started on the fluorescent light! surely it is always found in roadside diners because it duplicates the light of the distant sun around which the employee’s home planet circles.)

    err… Welcome to the Six Sentence Story bloghop
    lol

    *which, were we only to acknowledge and accept that fact we surely could advance upwards

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I admit I’m a bit thick but my accent worked fine everywhere else in the States. Who, knows, perhaps she was deaf. 😉 The 6 sentences were an extract from my post Scenes from the Road in America 1. Perhaps the boys and Kevin might enjoy it. 🙂

      Virginia (various towns). I have rented a car to drive from Washington, DC to Austin, Texas. I’m on my own time until I get there and I imagine myself in every American road movie I’ve ever seen. Sounded good until I left the rental garage and experience the reality of a whole new world where people drive on the wrong side of the road. I discover a new level of terror as I navigate out of the city onto the freeway, where at least there is an expanse of distance between each direction and I get used to the inside and outside lanes being counterintuitive. I overtake another vehicle and return to the correct lane and slap the dashboard to celebrate my graduation from newbie school.

      Later the fuel gauge starts to flash me a warning. I negotiate my way off the freeway into a small town that personifies my vision of rural America and find a ‘gas’ station. There is no fuel cap lever in the car and the cap has no key. I sidle into the gas station office with a ‘moron’ sign flashing over my head and ask the woman at the counter for assistance. She points out that some modern cars have fuel caps that you simply push and they open. She is very kind when I go into pay and says ‘Honey, it happens all the time’. I very much doubt it but her smile is sincere.

      I stop for lunch at a truck stop. I study the menu and a woman with dyed blonde hair and a distinct shortage of teeth asks me what I’ll have. I give her my order and she looks at me as though I were speaking Swahili. She says ‘Honey, just point at the pictures and I’ll bring it right over.’

      In the evening I book into a motel and ask the manager for a recommendation for a place to eat. He gives me directions to a family-owned restaurant downtown and he’s on the money for my tastes. The waitress manages to cope with my Australian accent and we have a friendly conversation about how she’d love to visit my country one day.

      In the booth across the aisle from me a young boy, there with his parents, has been paying very close attention. Between courses he slips over opposite me. His mother, embarrassed, says ‘Bobby, leave the gentleman alone’ but I indicate all is fine. He says ‘You talk funny’. I tell him that’s because I’m from Australia. He says ‘I like the way you talk. Say somethin’.’ So I tell him that when I was little I used to ride a kangaroo to school. His face expresses doubt but his eyes tell me he wants it to be true. He returns to his parents but watches my every move until I leave.

      Liked by 2 people

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