Brave Old World

My mother, after picking me up at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (I kid you not), announced that she and I would have dinner at an old family favorite of a restaurant, Konefal’s. Which was fine with me because I had asked if we could go to some place that I had not been in a while.

Picture a place with fake wood paneling, vinyl-upholstered straight-back chairs, stained, plywood booths. A hand-laminated paper sign behind the cash register reads: “Potato Pancake Batter, $3.00 per quart.” The smoking section is a nebulous section in the rear center of the restaurant.

Konefal’s Bar occupies the front part of the building, a separate area entirely. A full bar, I thought.

The waitress, a bone-thin middle-aged woman with dark brown hair helmet arrives. “Can I get you something to drink?”

“Dirty Martini, please,” I answer, before I realized my mouth was moving.

“Uhhh, what is that, exactly?”

I explain to her what makes it dirty. “How about that,” she says.

So, besides having no dirty martinis here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, there are other things I’ve observed:

  • there aren’t many shaved heads
  • but the number of bad haircuts—especially on men—makes up for it
  • everyone over 25 is married and wedding-banded
  • everyone is blue eyed and transparent-skinned (like me)
  • turns out, I really am the only gay person in the world!