Friday, July 9, 2010


Yesterday, while driving home from Rochester, I spied a billboard advertising a roadside cafe, whose name I have forgotten because it was something like "Joe's" or "Del's".  But I DO recall the notice, in bold red letters, attached to the bottom of the sign, proclaiming that said restaurant was "semi-accessible."  Huh?

Somewhat rattled at the notion of a restaurant that potential customers could only partially enter, I braked and did a double take--a maneuver that nearly got me rear-ended by the big-rig "semi" in back of me.  A semi.  Ah, so THAT was what the puzzling sign meant:  accessible to big-rig trucks.  The cafe had an enormous parking lot, perhaps.  Or a drive-up window 10 feet high.  Semi-accessible.

Funny word, that:  semi.  Spontaneously, my mind began to churn out all the "semi" expressions I could think of:  semi-conductors, semi-solid, semi-automatic, semi-annual, semi-circular, semi-colon, semi-final, semi-literate, etc.  All of which seemed to mean "half" or "partially" something or other.  What, then, is a big mother of a truck "half" of?  Half of a train?  Half of a an even bigger truck that has 36 wheels?  Half of a warehouse?


Gradually, as I drove past Eyota and then past St. Charles, this word began (as the TV commentators say) to "resonate" within my brain as a kind of mantra.  Semi, semi, semi, semi.

And then, about the time I was passing the Lewiston exit, my thoughts snapped back to the enigmatic expression I had seen twenty miles behind on the roadside restaurant billboard:  semi-accessible.

Suddenly, in a flash of  illumination that could have come from either God or a "Road Work Ahead" signal, I saw what all this meant.

Because, isn't everything in life "semi-accessible"--in both senses of the term?  Ordinary people (those like me in Camrys with accelerator problems) have only partial access to the things they desire and/or need in life.  We can't always get what we want, but sometimes we want what we get.  Like it or not, life is just semi-accessible to the people airline pilots call "folks."

Only those guys in badass trucks with 18 wheels, wind diverters and diesel smokestacks can go anywhere they want, anytime they want, for as long as they want.  Life's big-rigs (the French say "poids lourds") are people like Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Mitt Romney, Paris Hilton:  the plutocrats.  They don't seem to have any accelerator problems, do they?  In their semis, they get their access to Congress, Cannes and the Cabana Club.  Semi-accessible.

So, the question becomes:  how in hell do mere "folks" like us go about getting ourselves one of them there semis?

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