Tag: middletown

The 200-Mile Hot Dog and Other Mental Afflictions

The 200-Mile Hot Dog and Other Mental Afflictions

One of the things I contemplate often, especially recently, is the reasons why I commit myself to ride or drive around looking at…stuff. What’s the actual point? Why do I mark a place on a map hundreds of miles away to go and look at a sign, or a statue, or eat a donut?

Is the hot dog that is 200 miles away from home really any more tasty than the one in town, or heaven forbid, the one I could make at home? The answer is of course, yes. And, no.

File Under: It’s Not the Destination it’s the Journey

You can argue, and sometimes I do, that it is the actual journey that makes that 200-mile hot dog delicious. It is the life that is experienced in the space between your front door and the mustard that really matters. I mean, what else is there if not life experiences?

The sheer number of thoughts and ideas that are sparked by a 200-mile ride are myriad! Maybe it is on that ride that you will witness the most memorable sunrise of your life, or find the thread to finally begin writing your book, or snap your greatest photograph.

Holydog hot dogs in middletown new york - outside of building

Cue deranged thoughts: If I don’t go I’ll never have another unique experience, an inspired thought, and all of my chances with the universe will dry up because I was presented with an opportunity and I’ll be punished because I didn’t take it!

Or maybe I’ll just be going through the motions and see nothing interesting at all and will be bored and kick myself because I could be comfortably sitting in my favorite chair watching Jersey Shore reruns instead of sitting in traffic.

The Curse of Magical Thinking

It is this type of magical thinking that when taken to the extreme, has pressured me with irrational feelings of FOMO. If I don’t go, I could be missing out on “x.” This fear of missing out has a steep downside that doesn’t typically get framed as such. For the most part it is observed positively with only the highlight reel in focus. What could possibly be bad about having travelled thousands of miles looking at cool stuff?!

But when gritty reality comes knocking we learn that nothing comes without a cost, the value of which only has meaning to the person who has to empty their pockets to pay it.

For me, this constant motion kept me avoidant and unable to relax. There is an all consuming ripple effect and human toll to that.

Holydog hot dogs in middletown new york - inside grill

When used for good my obsessive personality has generally served me well. It’s been the butt of jokes, “ahahaha, you’re totally obsessed with…,” that even I chuckled at prior to understanding myself better. And it’s made me strive for things and helped me to achieve personal goals.

On the flip side, when my obsessions are self-destructive they implode my life. I think riding motorcycles and traveling have long served as a bandage to stop my internal bleeding. While I kept my eyes trained on consuming “positive” experiences it has been easy to ignore unhandled traumas.

Unfortunately one of the funny things about suppressed feelings that need attention is how patient they are. They don’t go away. They wait.

eating Holydog hot dogs in the car in middletown new york

For years I’ve wondered whether my love of riding motorcycles is equally as rooted in escapism as it is in the actual act of riding. Perhaps the motorcycle really is the perfect vehicle for someone like me because it caters to those of us who dwell in avoidant behaviors. It’s just you in your helmet at the controls – an autonomous being.

In its most natural application, you don’t glance over and chitchat with someone sitting beside you or sip a soda as you cruise along on your motorcycle. It’s just the solitary act of doing this activity which requires you being fully present.

“You’re like a shark, if you don’t keep moving you’ll die.” This sentence uttered about me has been firmly lodged in my brain for years. It ping-pongs around in my thoughts lately because it is in stark contrast to my current reality.

My pendulum swings wide never comfortably settling in the middle. Where the weight had been stuck firmly for years on the keep moving side, things have dramatically changed.

holydog hotdog - danish dog - remoulade, mustard, pickles, ketchup,

I go through periods of wanting to go, go, go which are then offset by episodes of paranoid isolating and not leaving the house for long stretches of time. And when I’m in at-home mode, I simultaneously feel safe and that it’s what I need to be doing – and a burning self-hatred because there is a muffled voice inside of me that wants to send me screaming from the front door to just be out… there.

Needing to feel grounded, to be home, to be what I see as the opposite of curious, shines a light on what I’ve decided is my emotional weakness. Coming to terms with that weakness burns.

In some ways it is like I am at odds with the person I’d set myself up to be and existed as for decades, and the person I actually am. My reality has fallen short of my expectations. That is the earmark of failure, isn’t it?

However, when it comes to my thoughts about other people who might be going through a similar experience, I wouldn’t think of them as failures at all. I’d think they just want a different path than they’d originally thought. The measuring stick which I use for myself and the one I use for others is very different.

Maybe I should head out across 3 states for a donut and consider the matter some more.

Two Coca-Cola Ghost Signs Spotted

Two Coca-Cola Ghost Signs Spotted

Though I don’t drink soda or smoke, I do have an affinity for tobacco and soda wall advertising. Whenever I see a Coca-Cola ghost ad, it feels like a win for the day.

Previously I posted a few ghost ads that I saw in Middletown, New York. One that I left out of that post was this lovely 2-sided dame from Union Street.

Delicious and Refreshing
Relieves Fatigue
Drink Coca-Cola
5¢ Sold Everywhere 5¢

One side of the building is now covered in vines and ivy. Just based on the “Co,” I wish I knew the condition of the rest of the words hiding below that creeping jungle.

Coca-Cola Ghost Ad
Union Street
Middletown, NY

This Coca-Cola ghost spotted in Phillipsburg, NJ a few weeks ago, also has a Bull Durham Tobacco layer for a nice one, two punch.

Drink Coca-Cola
Delicious and Refreshing

Morris St
Phillipsburg, NJ

The Ghosts of MIddletown

The Ghosts of MIddletown

Last weekend we had an itty-bitty taste of spring. Temperatures crept into the 60’s and so I decided to hop on the Bonnie and visit a few of the pins on my Google Maps app.

If I don’t look at the Streetview of a pinned item, sometimes I’m not sure what will be waiting for me when I turn up at the coordinates. At some point, I’d saved a cluster of stops in Middletown, New York. Based on my general familiarity with the area and their proximity to each other, I assumed they were ghost signs – and I was right.

This multi-layered ghost was hard to read in person. Sometimes tweaking a photo’s colors can help you read parts of the signs you can’t see with the naked eye. But other times the fade or overlapping is just too vague.

  • Synder Fancher & Company | Wholesale Grocers | Importers & Jobbers
  • Duluth Imperial Flour | Without a Rival
  • Altec | (distributors?)

When I go looking for ghosts, it isn’t uncommon for me to find myself in the parts of town that are economically challenged, their heyday long since passing them by. I’ll wind up in front of silent brick shells where factories once billowed steam, near old railroad stations and tracks, and often in areas that have fallen on hard times.

  • Gold Medal Flour | Eventually | Why Not Now | Bakes Best Bread

Riding towards home after snapping a few photos, it occurred to me that invariably when I am in these areas, I will encounter people walking on the street. And these people are more often than not, curious and friendly. They’ll flash a smile, give a hello and offer some chit-chat about my bike.

  • Snyder & Fancher | Wholesale Grocers
  • Duluth Imperial Flour

As I mulled over my interactions with people on the street I thought about my range of experiences on the different rungs of the economic ladder. Some stranger in an astronaut suit milling around snapping photos of a burned out factory doesn’t seem to raise suspicion in people. Just something to ponder…


Balancing Yugos at Wild Bill’s

Balancing Yugos at Wild Bill’s

On a chilly day, what better way to warm your heart than with some roadside Americana? I present to you… Balancing Yugos.
balancing Yugo

Pretty nifty, aren’t they?

When I was a teenager, I worked in a shoe store. My boss there had a Yugo in a color that is probably best described as “caucasian.” Stretched across the top of the windshield? A neon green lightning bolt sticker, of course. Because Yugos were all about speed and performance (in a not-so-speedy or performancy sort of way).

Just across the parking lot from the balancing Yugos was this painted V-Dub. Roadside jackpot.

When you don’t know what else to write, there is one tried and true phrase to fall back on. Two words that in their brevity say so much. Yes, keep this pair in your back pocket and you will never be stymied by profundity.

“Your mom.”

Your mom, indeed.

Stay smokin’, friends.

Wild Bill’s Nostalgia
1003 Newfeild Street
Middletown, CT 06457

%d bloggers like this: