Doesn’t have that same rhythm as when you cap it off with “66”. But there are plenty of kicks to be had on Route 22 in Pennsylvania.
My family went to Pittsburgh to visit some friends this past weekend. The shortest route there takes you from Altoona to Pittsburgh on good ol’ number 22. It’s a route straight out of hell, especially for the mother of a daughter who has recently learned how to read. Everything.
Route 22 might be the preferred path for horny truckers or friends and family of Larry Flint, however, I’m quite repelled by it. Why, you ask?
First of all, its ugly. Damn ugly. Recently, we went to a zoo and saw hippos. My daughter is (used to be) quite a fan of the animals. We had the pleasure of watching one emptying its colon against a rock wall. There’s no nice way of putting it. Cute words like poo and doodoo don’t do it. It was a shit spray. And so is Route 22. This is a stretch where old buildings go to die. This is where new cinder block and metal buildings are born and quickly join the old buildings in their deaths. Just plain, jaw-droppingly hideous.
Secondly (there will be no need for a third place), there are the multitudes of sex shops. Adult lounges. Titty bars. Call ‘em what you will. At one point, my vision of the outside world was eclipsed by a yellow and black billboard. In letters five or so feet high was the word “Adult.” Beneath that, I read, “videos, games, toys, magazines, live girls.” That last one really iced my cake. LIVE GIRLS. I am so lucky that my daughter was reading signs out of the left side of the car. I really didn’t want to explain why a place was advertising LIVE GIRLS.
I feel sure that I have explained what a LIVE BAIT sign means. She’s surprised one can go into a store and buy worms and bugs and stuff. But she understands it. What the hell would I say about live girls? That they are better than dead ones? Will she think that one can purchase LIVE GIRLS and take them home? Will she think that she can be purchased? Will she think it is her job as a girl to dance or perform in other ways for men?
Should I just go on and tell her the truth and then proceed to inform her that she should stay far away from any man wearing a stained wife-beater T-shirt barely enveloping a basketball-sized belly who reeks of urine and sweat (no doubt the proprietor) who will lure her into a career of pole dancing? Do I just point in the other direction at something, anything, that will divert her attention from these signs? Sure would be a lot of pointing.
I’m quite annoyed that I have to prepare the sex talk before I, or my daughter, are ready for it. So thank you dudes in your stained shirts and soggy britches in your cinderblock and metal bunkers along the shit-spray highway. Thank you so much for a great talking point in discussing the birds and bees with my beautiful, innocent daughter.
p.s. I really don't intend for this to become a man-hating blog. I'm just letting off steam about what's on my mind lately.