Friday, April 29, 2011

Wawa: the reliability of mediocrity

So I woke up at a crap time this morning. Well, more like last night. 2:30. WHO wakes up at 2:30?! Stupid insomnia. Woke up hungry. HONGREEY. This has been happening pretty regularly over the winter--I'd wake up at some horrible time of night/morning desperately hungry for a snack and knowing that I had no recourse, condemned to lay awake for hours in a house devoid of food, arguing with a rumbling belly until I gave up and started going about my day.

OH WAIT, I thought last night. It's not winter anymore! I can hop on my bike and go to Wawa! Wawa's the sort of thing you never really appreciate until you don't have it anymore. Growing up in Delaware, I took Wawa for granted. It was always there, always open, always ready to provide me a deliciously mediocre meatball sub whenever it seemed necessary. Any hour of the day, and day of the week, any condition I may have been in...Wawa was there. (I actually stopped by Wawa for a sandwich after driving back from Baltimore after Thanksgiving Dinner at my sister's house.) Then I moved. No Wawas in Vermont. No Wawas in Seattle, either. (As an aside, Vermont doesn't really DO the 24-hour thing. It was actually a struggle to find anything open after 9:00, be it a grocery store, gas station, whatever. Rural America: "It's late and we really think you should be in bed.") Of course Seattle had 7-11s. We all know they don't cut it, no matter where they're located. Sure, they're always open. And sure, they have snacks and whatnot. They even sell beer--at least in those parts of the country not ferociously and infuriatingly beholden to Puritanical views of how, when, and where beer can be sold. But can you walk into a 7-11 at 3:00 in the morning and get a ten-inch meatball sub with pickles, black olives, extra provolone, and parmesan? Of course not. That's what Wawa's for. No Wawa, no joy.

Yes, Wawa is absolutely beholden to the metanational food producers (Monsanto, ADM, etc...yes, I just watched "Food Inc." Angried up my blood). Their stores are a vast sea of fractionated corn and soybeans, and I'd probably be sad to know just how many milligrams of sodium are in just one meatball (never mind the pickles). In a perfect world, when I woke up hungry at 2:30 this morning, I would have gone downstairs to my kitchen and eaten something more wholesome. All true, and all duly stipulated. But to be frank, wholesome isn't going to get you into that carbohydrate-fueled stupor necessary to get back to sleep.

So yes: I heart Wawa. They're never going to win any James Beard awards. They're a little bit responsible for both the embiggening of the Mid-Atlantic waistline and, you know, Mad Cow disease and algae blooms and aggressive E. Coli. and all that mess. But we live lives of compromise, and I slept GOOD last night after my late night lunch. If a little gassy.


  1. Oh Jay. I do love your posts.

  2. Thanks! Now I just have to figure out how to insert more than one picture...