Jellystone Park, Pennsylvania, USA
P.O. Box 91
Mill Run, Pa. 15464
By T. N. Toost
We hadn’t planned on camping, much less at a Yogi Bear-themed campground. However, she had wanted to see Fallingwater, we’d arrived after it had shut and we were 200 miles from home. Camping was cheap and somehow made sense despite the fact that we didn’t have a tent or sleeping bags. Four hours, three lagers and a half-bottle of Boone’s Farm later, I was making out with a 23-year-old semi-crippled Kosovar architect on the roof of my car, denting it. We awoke in two extraordinarily uncomfortable positions.
I entered the restaurant while she made her face. A family large in number and girth ate in the middle of the room as Fox News blared on a 1980s colour television about Russia invading Georgia. I sat in the corner and suddenly realised that the fact that everything in the park was Yogi Bear-themed wasn’t the weird part – it was that all of the Yogi Bear-themed crap, from the bear in the corner to the gingham curtains, was decorated as if it was Halloween. In early August. Science fiction pretends that people suddenly thrust into new worlds find it difficult to adjust; really, we respond daily to absurd situations with remarkable adaptability. Weak coffee occupied my hands as I tried to focus and she limped in.
Three rubbery eggs, well-spiced, firm sausage, perfectly crisp hash browns, tinned mushrooms, green peppers, fresh tomato chunks, American cheese, wheat toast and grease formed the “mess.” At first, everything blended together grotesquely, but then I started to realise that the combination was actually perfectly balanced. The American cheese, which stuck to the roof of my mouth, could be scraped away by the potatoes, and the eggs, sub-par alone, were somehow excellent when wrapped intimately around the sausage. When I was done, a puddle of grease remained, fully coating the bottom of the plate. At $5.99, the mess was a steal.
We paid. Twenty minutes later, she slipped and fell in the water at Fallingwater, then spent four hours in my car in soaking jeans. When I dropped her off there was no goodbye kiss; instead I helped her with her crutches and watched her stumble into her apartment building. When she was safely inside, fifty metres and three layers of glass away, and I didn’t have to be self-conscious, I let out a long, satisfying fart and thought of Yogi, Cindy and Boo Boo.