The Places You’ll Go

by agoodnow

Oh the places you’ll go.  A great children’s book with some very relevant themes for adults. 

What made me think of a Dr. Seuss book?  

A seven and a half hour drive from Chicago to Grantsberg, WI.  That’s what.

It was Monday night and after a client meeting in a graveyard (yep, that’s what I do for a living) I started out to see my next client, 400 miles away, in Grantsberg, WI. 

An interesting thing happens as you head farther and farther north.  Farther and farther away from any metropolitan area.   Shit gets weird.

Let me tell you about the different experiences I had as I was driving on the long lonely roads of upstate Wisconsin.

I was driving a Hyundai.  A nice little car.  I will point out that it was the only non-American car on the road up there.  I would enter parking lots and look for a car that was not a product of Ford, GM, or Chrysler.  

Every bar, restaurant, hotel, and gas station I entered had a deer head mounted on the wall.  Most of the time it was deer heads (plural). 

Conversation overheard at the bar:  “Hey Mac, make sure you wear your camo hat to darts tomorrow night, eh.  It is our new uniform, for sure”     The folks up there like the terms – eh  and for sure.   They also have an affection for camouflage everything.  I most likely didn’t notice half of the people up there because they were blending in.

As I reached hour seven in the car I became ferociously hungry.  Of course, I was in the middle of nowhere.  Then, out of nowhere, I see a big huge sign for “Senor Mouse’s Restaurant/Gas Station/ CASINO!!!!!!”  

Oh yeah, that happened.  So I pulled over to get something to eat.  Of course, the restaurant is closed.  There were some hot dogs and one (1) pre made sandwich left from lunch hour.  Even more disappointing was the “casino”.  All video poker.    There I was thinking I was going to be rolling some dice (rubbing them on a dead animal mounted on the wall for luck) and winning some money when all that the “casino” had to offer was hitting some dirty button and inserting money into what amounted to a vending machine with no product.  I think I’ll pass.      I ended up with a bottle of water, an ice cream sandwich, and a bag of Doritos.  Dinner of the traveling salesman. 

I left the truck stop casino and as I was driving (listening to my XM radio rap station “Shade 45” – NPR Radio – and Sports Talk Radio) I started to notice a few things (other than the fact that I had ice cream sandwich dripping all over me)              There were bars EVERYWHERE.  But they were not the bars that you might think of.  They were attached to people’s homes.  There would be a sign out front (think about a sign that would have been outside a used car dealership) and a neon “Open” sign in the front window.  And always ONE car outside.  I was half tempted to stop into one of these establishments, but opted against it.  I felt that I would walk in and immediately be asked to leave upon presenting my American Express Corporate Card to start a tab.

After passing 4 or 5 of these make shift bars I came across the crown jewel of establishments in Northwestern Wisconsin………..the make shift strip club. 

Bow Chicka Bow Wow……………

I mean………do I go in?  I sort of have to, right?  Can I pass up such a life experience as to go to someone’s home that they have turned into a strip club?  This could be a once in a lifetime opportunity (until I visit this client again).   As I slowed the car toward the home of stripping I saw on the sign posted out front that the “strip” services were only available from 6-8 pm.   Darn.   I guess the owner/operator did some market research and found that the safest times to work were between those hours (right after happy hour, right before guys get too drunk)

Finally, I made it to the small hamlet where I was to be staying that night.  I checked in (lots of large dead animals mounted to the walls) The hotel was in the style of a log cabin  and it felt rather rustic.  I liked it. 

Across the street there was a bar.  I decided to grab myself a night cap.  By the time I got across the street I was nearly frozen.  I had not accounted for the 27 degree weather.   I got into the bar and I was shaking.  I was also the only person there.  The bartender greeted my warmly and upon my asking if he was still open he replied, “I’ve got nowhere else to go….”

Sad, but ok… I’ll sit here and have a couple of $2.25 draft beers with you. 

I walked back (ok, I ran across the street because I was so cold and I’m a wimp) and went to bed. It was an interesting night.   An interesting place.  An interesting experience.

Oh, the places you’ll go…………