angry purple

In which our hero wonders if he's on mushrooms

On Saturday, while wandering aimlessly through the Sunvalley Mall, I clumped into Johnny Rockets to have a bite.

Johnny Rockets is a theme restaurant, styled somewhat on a 50's diner, although it also has some 40's memorabilia and art deco lettering on some of its signs, so it's a bit of a mish-mash. Of course, it's not based on the actual American diner experience from the 40's and 50's but, rather, it's a rose-colored-glasses, foggy reminiscence, feel-good place. Soda jerks in white caps, bright lights, lots of chrome, juke box. Think Al's Diner from Happy Days and you sort of have it.

On the face of it, that's all well and good. Those kinds of places can be fun. Sort of like Disneyland, an idealized setting. But then I started thinking about how ridiculous and futile such icons can be.

First of all, every single staff member, and most of the patrons, was Latino. In fact, if the name tags were to be believed, every employee in the place was from Mexico. Again, taken by itself, that's meaningless. One could see the same in almost any restaurant in urban California. But combined with the oh-so-shiny, pretend, Happy Days, only lithographs of white people drinking Coca-Cola on the walls, world of Johnny Rockets; in fact, combined with the reality of straight-laced, racist, 50's America it didn't fit with the image, and so things got a little surreal.

Add to that the freak show that walked in and things went from surreal to plain bizarre.

The first of the unholy trio had a round, bowling ball head with crew cut hair. His mean little peepers were so close together he seemed cross-eyed. He wore a knock-off Bape hoodie jacket that was colorful enough to have served well in the Cole Bros. Circus but, strangely, no hat.

Next to Emin-ahem was every stoner who ever hung out behind the gym in 1975. He wore a white bandanna as a headband and this pressed his long greasy hair, parted in the middle, down onto his head, making him look sort of like an Afghan dog with mange. His heavy lidded eyes and slack, saliva-shiny lips suggested that A Brief History of Time was not on his Amazon Wish List.

A teenage girl was with Tweedles Dee and Dum. Her hair, also, unwashed and uncombed, and she was wearing a halter top that seemed long out of fashion.

All three of the amigos were spotty, to use the British term, because it suits.

So there sat Winkin', Blinkin', and Nod, clinking ketchup bottles together and leaping on their one cell phone every time it yodeled its unidentifiable ring tone, while winning the award for worst dressed of the '70's and noughties, as 50 year old rock and roll played for a nickel a song in that chrome-plated, red seated, glaringly lit, pretend corporate world from the brain crevices of someone's alcohol and cocaine soaked nightmares.

I fled for the hills, passing a young gentleman in stupendously-faux fur coat and ball cap on the way out. I fell onto my new sofa and did not leave it for the rest of the weekend.
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Your stoner description is, in my own head, a scuzzy version of Matthew McCaughoney (frick if I can spell it) in Dazed and Confused, only less likeable.

I think that entire experience would probably put me on the couch, too.
Your spelling of McConaughey (I had to look it up on IMDB) reminds me of Dr. Hfuhruhurr from The Man with Two Brains.