I took a break during Wednesday’s ride to stuff my face at a Kwik Trip convenience store near downtown Red Wing, Minnesota. I kinda like mid-ride breaks at gas stations, which are functional, cheap, and usually peaceful. I sat at the short counter near the door, listening to a toothless but cheerful associate offer samples of pizza to incoming customers, eating a decent quantity of just-purchased calories, and watching the activity at the gas pumps. Pretty much nobody there looked happy or even okay: annoyance, hurriedness, tiredness prevailed in the faces of other customers.
Gradually, I realized that the music playing over the speakers was somehow off. Listening harder, I realized that all of the songs were familiar, but that each one was being sung by someone who wasn’t the regular artist. The Beyonce tune was performed by a woman with slightly less range and dynamism. The Hall & Oates song was delivered by someone who didn’t quite believe that private eyes were indeed watching you watching you. The Dave Matthews soundalike wasn’t quite as whiny as the real guy. And quasi-Toto just plain didn’t convince me that it would in fact take a lot to drag me away from you. All in all, it was a slightly creepy, slightly annoying, slightly entertaining interlude before I climbed back on the bike.