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Wednesday
Jan162013

Burger Shake And Fries

McDonalds French Fries take the meanness out of me. They bring me back to a simpler time. When McDonalds didn’t have a drive thru. My car approaches the little black speaker and I develop an acute case of performance anxiety. I completely forget what I wanted to order. The little man in the black speaker with a voice accented with static tells me they are offering something that day that is special and would I like to order it. As I forget my order. Now I need to reassess what I really wanted in the first place. Was it good enough? Was is special? So I cut them off with a no, no, no, I just want to order what I originally wanted that I forgot as I approached the speaker. I would like a Southwest Chicken Salad with a regular iced tea. I remember this. And I order. I am proud. Then it happens. “OK, so you’d like a small iced tea?” No, I’d like a regular, which is a medium. But if I say medium, then I’ll get a large. They ask me if I would like the chicken grilled. My taste buds races with possibility. Crispy or grilled. Crispy sounds so good. Crispy really means fried. But I do it. I order the crispy. Because life is short. And evidently I plan on making it shorter. As I struggle over ordering crispy. I feel bad for the little man in that box all day. Listening to moms like me who suffer from performance anxiety. Who become frustrated at the little black speaker man because they remind us of how difficult life has become, since we were kids.

I was raised at McDonalds. Before there was an internet that make me feel guilty. I had the Hamburger, Fries and Vanilla Milkshake. Especially if we just left the doctor’s office in the building next to it. Then I'd just get a Vanilla Shake. It’s always a special moment when you just order a Vanilla Shake.

My childhood McDonalds had walk-up windows. I was never tall enough for the windows. So my parents did the ordering. We would sit outside in a shaded alcove on a stone carved table with stone carved benches. It was the Stone Age. With little brown Finches battling for scraps and tossed seeds from the buns. It was peaceful. The french fries gaggled in their little white bag. I'd search with my fingers for the softest ones and savor them. It was so simple.

The menu today has so many healthier options. The interiors adjusted to the times. My experience nowadays is more stressful. Trying so hard to have everyone's order written down before I get to the window. But then it happens to my children just as it happens to me. We get to the little box and suddenly something else sounds better. Crispier. When all we really need to be happy is a burger, Fries, and Vanilla Shake. To sit outside and search for the softest fry, tossing bun seeds to needy birds.

Sometimes I drive thru alone. I know exactly what I want. A Hamburger. No pickle. Poor pickle. Nobody likes the pickle. They must have a graveyard for pickles. I request a Vanilla Shake, and large French Fries. Because there is so much possibility in a large McDonalds Fry.

The lady with the funny hat and a smile hands me my order. I pull into an empty space for ten minutes of food and silence. Wondering if I am missing out on a moment by not sitting at the table outside. A chance to remove my shoes and toss bun seeds to little beaks. I open the bags. It’s a Hamburger, Vanilla Shake, and Fruit and Walnut Salad. No Fry. I stop. I breathe. And feel the meanness building inside, the urge to cry for my fry that would take the meanness out of me if I only had it in my hands so I could search for the softest one. It would have tasted so good. But to exchange for my fry I would need to approach the little black speaker man.  And I’m tired. Tired of the drive thru, and wishing things were different. Wondering why they can’t just get it all over with, and just serve Fries. And Vanilla Shakes. And Bun Seeds. With a side of nagging Finch beaks to peck at the simplicity of it all. Next time, I'll just order the Shake. And then it will be special.

 

 

 

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