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Peace, Love and the Diner Mentality

(The Verge) – I don’t think I’ll ever truly understand the way life works, though it’s something that I’m constantly on the search to understand. Questions like “Why do I have over 1,000 Facebook friends, when I maybe only care about 150 of them?” and “Am I wasting my time at school if I could be traveling instead?” run through my head on a daily basis. I mean, life is all about change, exploring new things and meeting new people, but sometimes I just like that steady constant that’s always there to pat me on the shoulder, give me some warm food and tell me everything is going to be ok. In my journeys of understanding life, I have discovered that there are only two constants in life: They are true friends and diners; funny enough most true friendships are created at diners.
I don’t want to brag but I can politely call myself a bit of a diner connoisseur (yet I hope I’m less annoying than Guy Fieri). Now why am I such a diner expert, you may ask? Well, over the past decade or so, I’ve been to quite a few diners with quite a few friends that have created quite a few memories. Luckily for me, I was born and raised in New Jersey, which has the highest diner rate per capita. To me, a diner is not simply a place to get something to eat; A diner is more than that. It’s a place where any one person can be themselves regardless of race, gender, interests or level of being intoxicated. It’s a place where a group of friends can get together after an event and discuss what went down.  A diner is a place where ideas and moments are created.
My love affair with diners started out pretty innocently enough. As a kid whose first love was music, the main thing my friends and I cared about was going to shows. It didn’t matter the season or how broke we were; nearly ever
Americana Diner
y weekend there would be a new show to go to. As we went from show to show, we slowly developed a post-show tradition of going to the closest diner. If the show was in Asbury, we would end up at the Inkwell until three in the morning, if we were at Starland Ballroom we would usually end up at a shady backwoods diner, and when I was on tour we would scour our GPS until we found the closest Denny’s. It’s become a tradition that’s been drilled in to everyone within that music culture’s brain subconsciously. My good friend Julian Dimagiba, who plays bass in the band “Young Rising Sons,” said,  “Growing up as a punk rock skateboarder, it was never ‘Hey, where are we going after the show?’ It was always, “So, who is driving to the diner?”
If you’re like Julian, or me, where you are lucky enough to take that passion of music and bring that passion to the next level by actually working within the industry, you end up meeting a lot of new people and losing a good amount of friends. Thankfully for us, the diner is still there and is still as important as it was when we were giddy sixteen-year-olds talking about how awesome Armor For Sleep was for closing their set with their hit “My Town”.  While Julian is in a band, I took a different direction and work behind the scenes in the industry doing promotional work, merchandising and booking show for the new generation of kids. When my friends Matt, Tom and I get together to brainstorm concepts for our next show, we’ve never ever gone over each other’s houses with a notebook jotting, because honestly we don’t know how to do that. But once we enter those double diner doors and sit in those never-been-washed booth seats, the ideas just seem to flow and work gets done.
After the last show that we put together, a large group of us all went to the Middletown Diner in Middletown NJ, to discuss the pros and cons of the show, as well as plan out the next show we were going to put together. Now, out of the group of 10 guys, I knew two of them but the diner atmosphere made me feel accepted as if I have known these dudes since I was in high school. We pretty much set up our next show less than an hour after our last show ended. Call me crazy, but the combination of a bacon blue cheese burger, me hitting on the waitress with corny jokes, and good dudes with good tastes in music is a magical combination that creates an abundance of ideas that can only happen at a diner.
If you’ve finished reading this article and you still don’t understand the magic that comes from a diner, then I have two things to say to you. (1) I don’t think this relationship is working out and we may need to take our separate ways and (2)  If my words of diner encouragement haven’t reached you, then maybe Back & Forth singer Matt Carlock’s words will: “Diners are the universal meeting place that anyone can go to and be accepted. Social status, income, lifestyle, or anything else that may differ one from another person is thrown out the door when it comes to diners.”
If we lived in a world that was led under the diner mindset, it’s almost a guarantee that we would live in a world filled with peace and harmony. Until then I guess I’ll just order my omelet, drink my tea and make inside jokes with my best friends to pass the time.

Image taken from: ronsaari.com