I wasn’t living in Lakeland in 2001, but I’d love to know the story. Someone had to forget to give Chris Nashawaty an extra piece of toast at breakfast. Maybe one of Lakeland’s finest handed dear Chris a ticket for doing 50 on South Florida. Someone just had to get Chris all fired up about Lakeland. If you missed the story, Chris was here to interview a young pop starlet named Spears:
Somewhere between the first-class kiddie glitz of Orlando’s Disney World and a lower budgeted pit-stop attraction on the outskirts of Tampa called Dinosaur World lies the town of Lakeland, Fla. If you’re a teenager here, there isn’t a whole lot to do other than troll the drive-thru windows of an endless archipelago of fast-food joints. Unless, of course, you’re Britney Spears, in which case there’s more going on in Lakeland than you could possibly want. — ew.com
He didn’t like the Lakeland Center either. Didn’t he know the first Miss Teen USA was held at the Center?
We’re backstage at the Lakeland Center — a small-time hockey rink routinely used for tour prep because of its proximity to Orlando, teen pop’s epicenter — where Spears is running through the minutiae of her upcoming road show. — ew.com
Chris hasn’t forgotten about that toast. It’s 2007 and he still has a thing for Lakeland. This time while he’s ruminating on the lost innocence of Britney Spears:
Lakeland wasn’t much of a town then, and I suspect it’s not much of one now. It was really just an endless archipelago of drive-thru fast-food joints, midway between the first-class kiddie glitz of Orlando’s Disney World and the blandness of Tampa. But back then, in the late fall of 2001, Lakeland was the epicenter of a teenage youthquake. It’s where boy bands like ‘N Sync and the Backstreet Boys worked out the kinks of their road shows before kicking off their world tours. – ew.com
He’s reading his Strunk and White. Omit needless words. 2001’s “troll the drive-thru windows of an endless archipelago of fast-food joints” tightened up to 2007’s “endless archipelago of drive-thru fast-food joints.”
Archipelago. You just know he smiled as he came up with that metaphor. I can imagine his glee when he realized he could revisit that old column. Still, I wonder if he traveled much in Lakeland? Land in Tampa. Take the I-4 to Lakeland. Then drive a mile or so to the Lakeland Center. Drive back to I-4. Note Dinosaur World is about halfway back to Tampa. Get back in time to catch a plane home.
Not really much of a chance to get to know a town, or its people. But, it is a hell of a way to come up with “an endless archipelago of fast-food joints.”