I mentioned last week how orgasmic it was to sample unique cuisine throughout my Southern travels.
I made it my mission to find the most unfamiliar item on each menu and order it. The very first restaurant I visited in Savannah, Georgia boasted hoards of authentic Southern dishes, but a closer look revealed something all too familiar:
For those of you not from the Pacific Northwest, Tillamook is in Oregon. My family would visit the Tillamook cheese factory every summer on vacation (which sounds weirder than it is. Never mind, it’s exactly as weird as it sounds).
Looking at that menu in Savannah, I couldn’t help but think I should have hitched a ride with the cheese. Does cheese get frequent flyer miles? Does it get sleepy traveling all day with nothing but a tepid ginger ale and some stale peanuts?
My brushes with the familiar didn’t stop there. During my first day out on the town with Harley May in Florida, we went for a stroll. We hadn’t been walking more than 20 minutes when I looked up to see this sign:
Even during my lunch with Linda Grimes in Virginia, we discovered several Oregon offerings on the wine list. What gives? Is my home state really that cool?
I doubt that’s it (though for the record, it is pretty cool). More likely though, my brain is wired to seek the familiar. No matter how hard I tried to find experiences that were new and different and exciting, I still wound up drawn to things that reminded me of what I already knew.
It’s something I’ve caught myself doing in writing. I’ve been bouncing between all three manuscripts in my contract lately, doing copy edits on MAKING WAVES before jumping back to put the final touches on LET IT BREATHE. Though one takes place on a ship in the middle of the Caribbean and the other is set at a winery in Oregon, I realized the other day that I used precisely the same language in both books to describe my heroine taking off her shirt.
Not that stripping should be performed differently depending on your geographic locale, but still. The exact same wording? Not what I meant to do.
I suppose it’s just human nature to fall into well-worn patterns. We use the same route to drive to work every day, order the same thing at a favorite restaurant, put our underwear on starting with the same leg each time. Even if we try to shake it up, maybe we're just destined to gravitate toward the familiar.
What do you think?
I think I want some cheese.