I wrote the following Boot ‘n Paddle on January 13, 2008 (during winter break).
For anyone who wants to get in “the mood,” pop on a Leonard Cohen album and just stand there, or sit there. Do anything. You can’t avoid it. The mood I am talking about, of course, is disheartened and dejected. I just did that, and I have got to say, it is working. I’m several miles from the nearest person, I just ate six ounces of hummus for dinner, and today I spent over an hour sitting in a Stewarts. If you haven’t, I highly suggest spending some time in a Stewarts.
It’s actually pretty amazing what they have managed to do. Somehow, they have made a simple gas station/convenience store into the epicenter of many communities. They have wiggly hotdogs, mediocre soups, and weird hamburgers, but something draws people in, something makes people feel unaccomplished if they haven’t stopped into Stewarts at some point during the day. I went twice today.
Not to get too far off topic (I think it will come soon), I don’t smoke, but last week I went into a Stewarts and bought a pack of cigarettes because it felt like the right thing to do. If you want to quit smoking, I suggest not throwing your abused cigarettes out of your car window. I put my fashionably, dramatically smoked cigarettes in an old Altoids tin and was amazed at how fast they added up. The substantiation was astounding!
Cool story, huh? So, I’m sitting all by myself, next to a pleasant little woodstove, beside a very drab Lake Champlain, and it hits me! Leonard Cohen might be encouraging pitiful emotions, but don’t let the first three paragraphs fool you; I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Besides the aesthetic qualities of my current location (a secret!), it is just fantastic to be alone ¬¬–– wait, I’ve got a few more thoughts on Stewarts.
We all love their classic fountain sodas, e.g. key lime and cherry cream, but their other Stewarts brand products are awful. I think it might be the packaging. The sodas are glass, which is shiny and alluring, and makes me really want to drink them, but the bags of chips are brown and depressing, which makes me assume they are the kind that will make the roof of my mouth bleed. I thought it was standard practice for salt & vinegar to incorporate blue packaging.
Anyway, I’ll bet if you’re reading this you’re not alone, not that you should be; reading Boot ‘n Paddle alone can be really depressing. However, think about ditching your friends once in a while. Ditch Ricky’s awesome anecdotes and Candace and her black light posters. If you’re looking for ideas, hanging out at Stewarts does count as being alone. I’ve never felt more alone than at the end of an hour spent in Stewarts