It’s marvelous how our friends Yin and Yang keep reminding us that the universe achieves opposing balance. But sometimes I think they’re just onerous comedians. Take, if you will, my gym. It’s situated directly across the street from a White Castle. This means that rows of state-of-the-art treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bicycles face vistas of fries and double cheeseburgers. We, The Exercisers, furiously wipe our dripping brows as our low-heartrated compatriots, The Eaters, gaze at us and wipe occasional crumbs from their maws. We push ourselves to run or climb for another 10 minutes as they watch us with tepid wonder from mushy blue booths. They don’t know why the heck we’re exhausting ourselves, and we wouldn’t be caught dead cramming chicken rings into our pieholes. Like having a gun shop by a tap dance studio or a tattoo parlor across from a daycare center, it just ain’t right.
My neighborhood White Castle is by no means royal and the smells that emanate from it are anything but courtly. Its patrons could, however, be deemed Knights of Litter, since many of us nearby residents throw away an average of 14,566 slider boxes per year. But this 24-hour fried fortress is surrounded by an organic café, a French-inspired bar/charcuterie, a modern furnishings boutique, and a vintage emporium. So I’ll be among the first to sound my bugle if it ever rolls up its drawbridge. And I’m never afraid to kill a metaphor.