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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I just work here

I’m dedicating this entry to several of the people we encountered along the way in north central Pennsylvania. I now wish we’d met even more people because I would like to know if this thing is common in the Pennsylvania Wilds. We went out Monday night to the local tavern. We did this after calling to see if they had Monday night Football (because there was no TV or wifi in the cabin) and while the woman who answered, and turned out to be the bartender, had no idea of the time and channel, she said we could surf for it. So we went.

When we got to the tavern, the pre-game was already on two out of three TVs, so apparently they’d done this before. We ordered beer and read the menu and asked the bartender how the chili was. She said, “Oh, I don’t eat chili,” but went on to say that others seemed to like it. So that was twice the bartender didn’t know Jill Poop. We’ll return to the tavern below, but for now, I want to describe the other people we encountered in that part of the state.

One day Joyce wanted to get a case of beer, and it’s very hard to find beer in that area. It was the same in Gettysburg and Lancaster County. So we asked where to buy beer and were given the most god-awful directions, and couldn’t find it. But we at least had the name, so started asking for that. Two of the first three people, who worked right there in Wellsboro, had no idea where it was.

On another occasion, we went into a visitor’s center for info and some tourist was asking the employee about local foods, particularly a Chinese place. “Oh, I don’t eat Chinese,” she says. And again, we stopped at a country store to ask what the big attraction was in the area, a place to which Johnny had directed us. The woman had no idea. She lived there, and it was a paved hiking and biking trail that ran by her store along the river. We found out when we stumbled onto the trailhead parking lot on our own. We were just gob-smacked that so many people in that area had such limited experience. It wouldn’t be odd if one person didn’t eat Chinese, or if some out-of-towner didn’t know where the liquor store was, but only one person we asked had the answer. I was wondering how long it would take for us to return to civilization: those parts of Pennsylvania where people know something. What bugged me about the non-eaters was the way they said it, implying they were too good for this kind of food. It sounded like, “Why would you ask me such a thing? Do I look like I eat Chinese????”

Anyway, back to the tavern. They had a somewhat limited menu so we decided not to press our luck. Johnny said the food was very good, but the tavern didn’t look like the sort of place where everything wasn’t frozen and then heated in a microwave. There was no smell of food in the place at all. Cheeseburgers seemed safe, and they were fine, as was the chili. Because of the entertainment in the tavern, though, I no longer remember anything about the football game, not who played, not who won, because we left early. But I can tell you all about the locals. We parked in a lot across from the tavern and as we crossed the street, two young women came flying out, all in some uproar. They were shrieking some kind of nonsense and we flat out asked them, “Should we not go in?”

“Oh, they’re being mean to us because of our music,” one tells us. Actually they didn’t even look old enough to drink. Their problem didn’t sound like it would extend to us, so we went in.

Inside the front door were three men wearing hunting camouflage and talking about football. One man seemed more drunk than the others, and had only one arm. But I mean, it’s a bar. Nothing out of the ordinary. In the back near the booths where we sat was a couple on those uncomfortable, high teetery bar stools. I want to say clearly not married but I’m not sure why I thought that immediately except for the disparity in their dress. I did get confirmation of this from overhearing their conversation, not to mention her subsequent activities. Okay, he looked like a putz and she looked like a ho. So there you go. Those were all the locals. And no one else came in the rest of the night.

Unless you want to count the little chippies we thought had left. Within minutes they were back and ordering big sugary drinks at the bar. One had on a sequined top, like you might see at a New Year’s Eve party. They sat at the bar carrying on at one another over something I couldn’t make out, and they made several trips to the juke-box. They were in and out all night, smoking, drinking, playing music, hair-flipping and just acting silly. None of the men in the bar seemed to be available, or of interest, not to mention they were a lot older than these young things. Maybe these two were hoping for more drinkers to appear. Maybe this is something they do every blessed night. We never went back so we don’t know.

Meanwhile, in the back, by the booths, the ho is really working the putz. Her hands are all over him, whispering in his ear, sliding her legs between his. Joyce says to me, “Get a room, for crying out loud.”

They too, frequently left to smoke outside, while the chippies and the men used the front sidewalk. Sometimes they would all be gone but us, and then back in again. So we ate and the game went in the wrong direction (I do remember that much) so we decided the locals weren’t that compelling and left. And the bartender told Joyce, when she asked, that they could sell beer, but only two six-packs. So we got out of there and stuck our beer in the fridge. And that was our not-so-thrilling night on the town.

I don’t have pictures of all this, but here’s the cute little post office across the street.

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