Adjusting Expectations With a West Virginia Big Boy

Adjusting Expectations With a West Virginia Big Boy

Everything doesn’t always come up sunshine and roses when you’re road tripping and looking for something you read about or might’ve heard of in passing.

Sometimes a pin on my map for a Mail Pouch barn will turn up a pile of collapsed wood where a barn used to be. Or maybe I can’t actually find what I’d saved or it’s missing. And sometimes a thing sounds much cooler than the reality of it. When you turn up for a visit… sad trombone. It’s a roll of the dice.

Luckily the journey almost always has some value to it so there’s that. You might happen upon something else in the area that makes up for the letdown. Sometimes you’ve gotta make lemonade.

Recently, I had my hopes up for the Shoney’s Big Boy Museum in Charleston, West Virginia. I hadn’t read anything about it, I only had the name and address. Based on the name, I imagined a restaurant with memorabilia-covered walls and statues and nicknacks. I envisioned a place where I could grab a bite to eat and use the restroom and I was excited by that. So when I turned up and found…

Well, let’s just say my fantasy was a bit aggressive. Instead of a tchotchke covered restaurant, I pulled up to Big Boy on a stick, a couple of yellowing newspaper articles, and some pushpins on a corkboard marking the spot where something used to be. ::womp:womp::

I suppose if I had known it was solely a memorial marker of the Big Boy genesis, the Parkette Drive-in, maybe my imagination wouldn’t have gotten away from me. If I had known what was waiting for me, would I have felt disappointed? Maybe not. Them’s the breaks.

The silver lining in this situation was that I serendipitously saw a Mail Pouch barn on the way, so I’d traded one good thing for another. Lemonade.

7 Replies to “Adjusting Expectations With a West Virginia Big Boy”

  1. Oh Fuzzy, Fuzzy, Fuzzy….

    What a great post to share! I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on expectation. Several “big thinkers” that I respect, while discussing happiness, have touched on expectation.
    A notion that expectation leads to disappointment, sadness, less-ness. But how does one live without expectation. We’ve all heard the mantra that “it’s the journey not the destination”. I get that. I’ve also gone into the world with one expectation and been happy when something more enjoyable (but not what I was expecting) was at the end of the rainbow.
    More importantly, my sadness is always, if I really look, because my expectation wasn’t met.
    A motorcycle ride was more work than fun.
    I did X but got Y instead of Z.
    I spent an hour making dinner and it doesn’t look like the picture on the recipe.
    I did what I thought would make my spouse happy and she’s still sad, tired, dealing with her own shit.

    I dont know how to not have expectation unless I become a zen master but I can’t escape this truth. (And I’m sure becoming a zen master would be fraught with disappointment.)

    Maybe the grey mush in our skull just allows us to generate a fiction that we experience. Chemicals and history can tilt that fiction in a positive or negative direction. I wonder, can we pick our fiction?

    I look forward to your updates, they tilt my fiction towards the positive. Thanks!

  2. Candid observation of experience. We need more of these.

    In our media age (1950+) we’ve been taught about the world in ways that are empirically false: studies of mass entertainment show that portrayals of cops, lawyers, women and virtually everything are skewed from reality which leads us to expect and believe things that aren’t true. Actual experience teaches us true facts which are enlightening. Your reporting of experience is valuable.

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