Saturday, March 3, 2012

How far would you walk for a Chick-fil-A sandwich?

I have been reading the terrific novel Q, by Evan Mandery.  It's a great story, with plenty of thoughtful and provocative passages, as well as lots of laugh-out-loud humor.  About half-way into it, I came across this passage that made me think of Jeff Rudisill, whom I mentioned in my blog last year.  You may recall that Mr. Rudisill, in his 60s, decided to walk across America.  He made it, coast to coast.

In Q, a dinner party debate has arisen over the inherent goodness of progress.  The local eccentric, Tristan Handy, begs to differ with his host's insistence that bridges and highways make our lives better by enabling us to travel more swiftly from place to place.  I have decided to quote this passage at length.  I hope you enjoy it!
But is getting someplace faster an end in itself?  You know, one night about twenty-four years ago this week, I was watching Alice on television when I developed a craving for the Chick-fil-A. . . .  I wanted the Chick-fil-A and they do not have so much as one such establishment north of the Mason-Dixon line.  [Handy lived in New York.]  So I called my travel agent and began making arrangements to fly to Atlanta.  Because if you are going to get the Chick-fil-A, you want to go to the original and not to one of these "franchisees."

So there I am on the phone booking my flight . . . when I asked myself, why do I not just walk?  It is a fine night outside, I said.  Once I had the thought I did not waste another minute. . . . Before  you know it, fifteen hundred and seventy-three miles later, there I am at the Greenbrier Mall in Atlanta, Georgia. . . . Well, I will be darned if that was not the sweetest-tasting sandwich I have ever had in my entire life. . . .

When I look back on that experience, as wonderful as that sandwich was, it is not what I recall most fondly.  What I remember most favorably is the walk itself.  I remember the things I thought about, the places I saw, and, most of all, the people I met along the way.  Many of these people . . . had me into their homes, and together we built friendships that have lasted until this day. . . .

My point is merely that oftentimes the journey is the superior to the destination.
 Evan Mandery, Q: A Novel (Harper: New York, 2011), 156-58.

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