I’d never realized there was a market for fast-food art, but there I was, in Burger King, washing down my Whopper with an unironic Diet Coke while staring at comic-book style illustrations of hamburgers, fries, onion rings, and soda cups. I’m not sure what the message was – “our food is art,” or “we’re too cheap and uninspired to do something remotely creative.” Possibly, it was just the junction of the two that happens when budget collides with modernizing. I know what they want us to think, but it was ugly. The art looked better than what I was eating. The smell that beckoned me in was better than it actually tasted. Such is Burger King.
I didn’t even intend to get Burger King, but I needed to get out. It’s been a strange past couple of weeks, this week even stranger. Life is weird. This morning, I left for work a little later than usual, and so as I was heading out I did a little investigating around the yard for a strange sound we keep hearing early in the morning. As I was standing there, I looked around at everything, all the work that I could be doing around the yard, I looked at the sky, I smelled the air. It was a perfect morning. Moreover, it was a perfect morning to be doing all of that, not boxing myself up in my truck to rush off into traffic, then box myself up in my little grey box at work where the light is grey and there are no windows around. That’s why life is weird. Humans do weird things to ourselves. Like giving in to the smell of Burger King.
When it came time to eat some lunch, I just had to get out, away from all this greyness and boxiness. I connected my Ipod and spun the wheel to find just the right thing, landing on Pink Floyd’s final studio album, The Division Bell, a flawed but underrated farewell. Much of the reason I listen to the two post Roger Waters Floyd albums is simply to hear David Gilmour unleash his soaring guitar. I maintain that no one can man a pitchshifter like Gilmour, save maybe Joe Satriani. It sounds like a toy at the feet of most others, but with Gilmour weighing in on it, he reaches levels of expression few can match. Like with Satriani, guitar is an extension of voice. Unlike a voice that ages, they never lose that magic touch.
I could smell Burger King from down the street, so strong was the odor of burgers. I couldn’t resist, and I’m sure some executive panel high up in the ranks at Burger King headquarters knows this. Somehow, the Whopper itself never actually tastes like the smell that wafts into my nose, the one that is so inviting and promising. Disappointing as my lunch was, relief was found, as before, right there in my paused Ipod. I knew what I was going to get. My anticipation could not be dashed as it was with the burger. Gilmour and his pitchshifted guitar washed away the guilt of that lowly burger, and the art, and the day not spent at home enjoying what real life is all about. And, really, that might be a perfect example of why life is weird, but forgivably so.