It’s weird to be home. I’m thrown off my groove and I feel lazier than usual. The weirdest thing though, is that this home isn’t really my home any more. It is, but it isn’t. It’s kind of interesting having Paul here with me though, because I feel like I’m experiencing things through his eyes and, unfortunately, the USA might be just as weird as Canada.
Where I live in suburbia Illinois, there’s a historic town close by called Long Grove. The town is supposed to be quaint and charming, but it’s kind of boring and ghetto. I mean, you can definitely find some cool spots like this bakery that sells apple cider donuts. They melt in your mouth and make you re-think your entire life. So good. Too good.
There’s a shop called Nifty 50’s that basically just sells all kinds of crap. I’m pretty sure no one needs a life size cardboard cut-out of John Wayne or Marilyn Monroe, but they have them. They also specialize in I Love Lucy attire and all things diner-like. I mean, I love Lucy just as much as the next person, but do I really need to sport that on a sweatshirt? If you look hard enough (or at all), you’ll find things that don’t belong. Today I spotted a Michael Jackson cut-out and a Tommy Bahama shirt. Ummm Nifty 50’s? More like, All Hoarders Welcome!
There are 2 stores in Long Grove that sell purely Irish goods. And by goods, I mean souvenirs. It makes you feel like you’ve gone to Ireland and managed to avoid actually seeing anyone that’s ginger or drunk or Irish. One store is better than the other. I say this because I’ve only been to one of them and I like to think that it’s the best. The store is overwhelmingly Irish; From plaques with the Irish Blessing printed on it, to claddagh rings, to copies of the movie Leap Year. It’s ridiculous, but insanely better than Nifty 50’s. Yet it doesn’t hold a flame to the apple cider donuts.
My family made sure to hit every store that included some sort of food, so next we went into the Long Grove Popcorn Shop. They have popcorn of all flavors. Grape, toffee, strawberry, bleu cheese, caramel–you name it, they have it. Unfortunately they didn’t offer a mixed bag of caramel, cheese, and buttered, so we left seriously disappointed. And I genuinely wondered why my family’s happiness hinged on popcorn flavors.
Long Grove reminded me that no matter where you go in the world, you’re going to find something very weird that everyone else has deemed normal. I’m sure everyone in Canada feels like they’re normal, meanwhile they’re the universe’s Nifty 50’s.