21st January 2010

I’ve been putting off taking a driving test in the state of Pennsylvania for 25 years but I can put it off no longer. The day is completely clear with the sun shining out of a sky bluer than you ever see in temperate climes. My former student, the beautiful Amy Murray, has agreed to drive me out into the suburbs where I must take the test. As we drive she tells me about the work she is doing on Philip Pullman and children’s literature. When we hit the strip development and the fast food outlets, I am struck again by the historical paradox that the richest country the world has ever known eats worse than any country recorded by history. We’re early and light on a Paneera’s, the acceptable face of fast food in the suburbs. I’m amazed at the activity. It’s only 8.30 in the morning but every table seems to be hosting a meeting of some sort with multiple lap tops unsheathed. What is being bought, sold, produced?
The instructor is helpful ( I am wearing my best suit and a tie) and I pass the test. How grand we are this morning.

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