We have just crossed the meat loaf line in America, that invisible divide in the landscape across which restaurants are far less likely to have sun-dried tomato concoctions and far more likely to have, gravy.
We come across American-made cars and bumper stickers such as: “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Fords” and “Warning: In Case of Rapture, This Vehicle Will Be Unmanned. We have found an entirely different attitude toward money. A lot of people don’t have much, even though they don’t exactly look poor. Rural
If we’d continued to rural
In many small towns, you can set yourself a goal: Try to spend twenty dollars a person on dinner. You can order the most expensive thing on the menu—steak au jus, seafood delight, “slippery beef” pot pie, whatever—and you probably won’t be able to do it. You can ask the locals to direct you to the nicest restaurant in town; they’ll send you to a Red Lobster or an Applebees. You’ll spy a restaurant that seems from the outside to have some pretensions—maybe a “Les Desserts” glass cooler for the key lime pie and tapioca pudding. But you’ll check out the entrée prices and realize that you didn’t crack that twenty dollar barrier.