A Knowledge of Roads
rating: +10+x

The world passed by me. Or maybe more accurately, I passed by it. The world and I, sliding past each other like subway cars, with hardly a rush of wind to indicate the passing. Sometimes when someone sets out on a journey, they've got a particular destination in mind. Other times, The journey itself is its own reason. Maybe I'm hoping for some sort of enlightenment. Or that if I just keep at this long enough, it'll hit me, like a brick, all at once. Or maybe bugs on a windshield; little bits at a time, but to see the whole picture, you've got to step back to get a wider view.

I stopped by a roadside diner. As sure a place as any to find an Expert in cooking. The cook had the signature spotless apron of an Expert, and years of wrinkles to back it up. I requested a corned beef hash and eggs done over easy, with a coffee. As long as it took for her to turn to the griddle and back, I had my food, cooked to perfection, along with coffee straight from the pot. Definitely the right place. "When did you start?" I ask her, leaving the question up to interpretation. She leans against the counter, thinking for a moment, "When I was jus' a young one, aroun' fifteen or so, me marm says to me 'Learn yeself into a cook. Always people what needs food in they stomachs. Always places what needs cooks to put it there,' and so here I am. Yeself?"

I cough. "I started some years ago. Haven't gotten there yet. Don't know when I will." She was quiet for a bit, before regarding me, her gaze firm, but with curiosity, not pity. "Sometimes it takes a time what to bring yeself to the Know. Or to bring the Know to ye. It ain't about the gettin' there, it's about the way of gettin' there. Watch." She turns back around to the griddle, standing a bit off to the side to give me a view. I see her making a copy of what I ordered, but rather than being done in mere seconds, she takes her time, perfectly grilling the corned beef and hashbrowns, and keeping a close eye on the eggs. She turns back around, with another plate of corned beef hash and eggs over easy, identical to the one she had already made for me, save for the bites I'd taken out of it.

"That's mighty kind of you, but I'm not sure I have enough on me to pay for another," I say to her, eyeing the second plate, knowing full well I could definitely use it. She scoffs, "Bah, it's on the house, ye look like ye ain't had a good meal 'n days." I bow my head graciously, and continue eating, contemplating what she'd told me.

I'd been on the road for years now. I'd seen much the western states had to offer, but had I really seen it? The path to the destination is more important than the destination itself. Those Experts with the Knowledge, they don't create from nothing. They create from their supplies and their Knowledge. An Expert cook provided with barrels of ingredients can feed an army. An Expert painter, provided with a canvas and paints, can return a masterpiece in moments. But it's not simply about the supplies. It's about Knowing each step of how to get there. Everything involved.

I continue my contemplation as I finish the meal, and thank the cook for her hospitality, giving what money I could pull together as payment. I get back in my car and start it up. I think, long and hard. Every turn, every rest stop between here and home. Every tree and intersection. I pull away from the roadside diner…

And I make a turn.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License