You could twist around the entire exterior surface, but had to contort and blur your vision to even glimpse the inside

The alarm clock rang to an empty household

The region of La Mancha, in central Spain, famously has a bunch of windmills in it, as catalogued by Miguel de Cervantes in his early 1600s work The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha. In the story the main guy (the titular Quixote, pronounced Quicks-Oat-Eeee or Key-Oh-Tee depending on your disposition) at one point sees a bunch of windmills and believing they are his enemies tries to battle them via jousting. This is where the English idiom “tilting at windmills” comes from (to battle imaginary enemies).

I bet there are a lot of people in La Mancha who just happen to live near some windmills and get some free tourism business from this history. Someone writes a story like 400 years ago and you reap a modern day windfall by setting up a diner on the road to some of the windmills featured in the story.

On the other hand, I wonder if there are people there who are sick of looking at the windmills and want to put in like a golf course or nuclear power plant or something instead, only to be rebuffed every time by the local tourism and historical councils who insist that the windmills be kept around. Cervantes may not have known it when he was writing his story, but he’s condemned the region to always be covered in windmills, even if they fall out of fashion. I hope that whenever he introduced himself to people he used a James Bond voice and said “Cervantes … Miguel Cervantes” and then ordered a cocktail in an oddly specific way or whatever.

There’s probably other stuff like this too. Like if you were walking around a random path in the woods in Germany and came across a tiny house made purely of candy, you’d probably need an elaborate permitting process to even consider knocking that thing down and building something more modern in its place.

There’s a surplus of ammunition but a shortage of poetry

I was trying to think of some useful metrics to determine whether I was patronizing a small or local business (as opposed to a large business or chain). One thing I came up with is this — if in the middle of whatever you were buying the person helping you got a phone call and just stopped whatever they were doing to answer the phone (and you were totally fine with this!) you are probably in a small business. I think this checks out for a variety of experiences.

If you’re in a local haircut place with like 1 or 2 people working and in the middle of getting a haircut the phone rings and the person who had been cutting your hair JUST STOPS to go answer the phone, this is probably a local business. I suspect that at larger chains this does not happen. There’s either a person answering the phone or the phone gets ignored. Same thing with cafes. If I’m at a Starbucks and the barista stops to answer the phone in the middle of talking to me … that would seem very weird and I’d be sort of surprised. But if I was in my local shoppe instead, I’d almost be surprised if they didn’t take the call. Hell, I might even grab the phone for them and answer it if they were busy grinding some beans or whatever.