The Lost Continent

Oh Bill Bryson, how you amuse me. What a great writer! I just finished The Lost Continent: Travels In Small Town America, in preparation for my road trip! I am flying to Riverton, Wyoming and then driving with my friend back across the U.S to Easton, CT. Bill Bryson went to a number of places that I am going to to, but most of all I just liked reading how he described some things perfectly, to me. There are a few excerpts below, I had to restrain myself from re-typing the whole book. I can't wait to see how my own trip goes, I'll be posting some pictures along the way!

This is exactly like my experiences in Target at Atlantic Mall, Brooklyn. If you've ever been there you know exactly what I'm talking about:

"It's not that there's anything wrong with K Marts themselves, it's the customers. K Marts are always full of the sort of people who give their children names that rhyme: Lonnie, Donnie, Ronnie, Connie, Bonnie. The sort of people who would stay in to watch "The Munsters." Every woman there has at least four children and they all look as if they have been fathered by a different man. The woman weighs 250 pounds. She is always walloping a child and bawling, 'If you don't behave, Ronnie, I"m not gonna bring you back here no more!" As if Ronnie could care less about never going to a K Mart again. It's the place you would go if you wanted to buy a stereo system for under thirty-five dollars and didn't care if it sounded like the band was playing in a mailbox under water in a distant lake. If you go shopping at K Mart you know that you've touched bottom."

And this is exactly like all of my summer vacations visiting my grandparents in Phoenix, AZ:

"I had always thought that deserts were hot and dry the year around. I can tell you now that they are not. I suppose because we always took our vacations between June and August it implanted in me the idea that everywhere in America . . . was hot the year around. Where ever you went in the summer in America it was murder. It was always ninety degrees. If you closed the windows you baked, but if you left them open everything blew everywhere—comic books, maps, loose articles of clothing. If you wore shorts, as we always did, the bare skin on your legs became part of the seat, like cheese melted onto toast, and when it was time to get up, there was a ripping sound and a screaming sensation of agony as the two parted. If, in your sun-baked delirium, you carelessly leaned your arm against the metal part of the door onto which the sun had been shining, the skin where it made contact would shrivel and disappear, like a plastic bag in a flame. This would always leave you speechless. It was truly amazing, and curiously painless, spectacle to watch part of your body just vanish. You didn't know whether to shriek at your mother as if you had been gravely wounded or do it again, in a spirit of scientific inquiry. In the end, usually, you would do nothing, but just sit listlessly, too hot to do anything else."


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