...Date in Sprawlville!
Andrew received an Olive Garden gift card for Valentine's Day from his parents so we decided to go out for dinner. We looked up the nearest Olive Garden and it was in Attleboro, Massachusetts. No problem, that's only 7 miles away. Interestingly we'd been wanting to go to Attleboro. A friend from church works there and was telling us how terrible the town was. If he was using reverse psychology on us, it worked. We felt so intrigued to see this awful place that we planned on it even before the OG excursion. In fact, we went out to eat while it was light out just so we could see the town. Pathetic, I know.
Well, we had been trying to spend money wisely and we hadn't gone out too much since Andrew's been in town, so we were really excited for this outing. We got all dressed up for our fancy date and headed out on the town. Well, town quickly turned into townie. We soon realized that Attleboro was so sprawled that OG was 3.5 miles from the town center (a big deal when you're expecting a small town). After a few wrong turns, some impolite words, and 20 minutes of irritation, we arrived in the downtown. It was cute, but dying. Traditional, historic storefronts occupied by less than desirable businesses. We drove around in circles for a few minutes and then headed back out to OG for dinner. Not much of a looker. We came, we saw, we went.
We pulled up toward the restaurant and realized that we had to turn onto the opposite side of the street to get to the restaurant. (The little sign is on the other side of the road telling you to go the opposite direction than seems logical to get to the parking lot with the big sign!)
The intersection was so convoluted that they forced you to enter a large parking lot on the left, use the outside lane like a service road, turn left under the highway and pull into the parking on your left...three lefts, aka, what would have equaled a right turn into the lot in the first place except it wasn't allowed. There was no entrance. And to make things crazier there were no stop lights on the main street, no no, they are all in the parking lot. What?! I have to stop at a light next to my parking space?!
Notice that mess of intersections that look more like something you see in the L.A. highway system? That's the parking lot traffic structure! What on earth are all those lanes for?! Really, Mr. Developer, are there that many Saturday morning shoppers in this town? The population is just over 40,000...what do you think, they all shop at the same time?!
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By this point we're absolutely floored by the desolate suburban conditions we're in and we've kicked into psycho urban planner mode complaining about suburbia, blaming the developer for the parking lot fiasco, cursing the city for the entrance dilemma, you get the drift....two planners on a rampage.
Well, when we get done laughing at how horrible our experience had been thus far we notice that not only are we in the world's largest parking lot, but that we're in the world's largest parking lot and way over dressed. We watch people in gym clothes, basketball shorts, cut off jean shorts with combat boots, sweatpants, you name it, walk into OG. We're not trying to judge what the other people are wearing, we're mostly feeling really awkward, overdressed, and out of place. We'll never pass as townies. They'll know we're outsiders the minute we step inside the Italian mecca. Well, we didn't drive all the way there to shrink back with our tails between our legs, so we go in. First, we can't find anything we want on the menu, next our waiter mistakes the salad for soup and gives us about 2 cups of dressing on our bottomless bowl of salad, and then we experience the saddest "Happy Birthday" singing we've ever seen at a restaurant. Usually waiters and waitresses at least pretend to be happy for you, sing, smile, fake well wishes....these people didn't even try.
Full, but thoroughly disappointed, we drag our overdressed behinds back home. No offense Attleboro, but you stink. Thanks for the gift card though, Mr. and Mrs. P.!!