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Espresso With Your Unleaded?

I know I’ve been driving way too much when I start getting excited about mini-marts and gas stations. They give me hope that there is no back pain or road rage that high fructose corn syrup can’t cure. And whereas these days I could get myself all verklempt over a gourmet market or a farm stand, sometimes I can’t escape my past.

I think it is a pavlovian thing: as a child I loved stopping by the mini mart because I knew I was in for a treat. A fountain drink (Dr. Pepper, lots of ice), a candy bar (Butterfinger). There was no way anything healthy could stand in my way! As a toddler in Texas, we’d stop at this place Bang’s where we’d get pork skins and Pabst Blue Ribbon (for the adults). I remember my first Ding-Dong. A friend of my mother’s from the horse barn took me to the Toot’n Totum where I discovered the joys of processed sugar. “Mama, these are good!” Like I’d made a discovery.  I now have the sense to know she’d been keeping me from this stuff on purpose, bless her heart. The tween years in Oklahoma were punctuated with stops at Love’s on the turnpike between Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Love’s is the Wal-Mart Superstore of gas station/mini-marts. Seriously good stuff. The day I got my driver’s license  my first stop was Circle K. I think the loot was pre-packaged processed doughnuts and a big gulp of Dr. Pepper.  In college, late New Jersey nights and Sunday study days always included a stop at “The Wa” for footlong meatball sandwiches, syrupy “cappucinos” and, yes, Dr. Pepper. In a side note: my new northern friends preferred something called Swedish Fish. I actually though this was canned fish. I had noticed these east coasties liked something called “lox” which I’d never had so I thought they were just really into fish. I had a lot to learn.

I feel like I’ve just revealed my dark past.

This gas station in Los Angeles is more Euro than anything I enjoyed in Texas, Oklahoma or New Jersey. I apologize for the photo – I was trying to be as surreptitious as possible. Note that these pastries are certified Kosher.

Amanda

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