Last night I worked a little late. Since it was my night to cook, I decided to stop and get burgers for my husband and I on my way home - a treat usually reserved for special occasions, like days that end in "Y".
Traffic was a bitch, so it took me awhile to get there. By the time I pulled into the restaurant, I also had to pee. It had not yet reached that emergency stage where if I sneezed some would dribble out, but I had become uncomfortable, shifting in the drivers seat to try to find a position where my bladder didn't feel like a water balloon being squeezed by a vice.
I thought about going inside and using the restroom, but decided against it since the bathrooms at fast food restaurants usually resemble a crack whore den. No, I decided, I will just go thru the drive-thru, which is supposedly "fast" and then drive the 8 blocks home to pee in the comfort of my own throne room, where I can't pick up any coochie diseases - at least from the toilet. It sounded like a great plan.
I turned into the drive-thru lane, behind a mini-van. The mini van was parked at the first menu sign, the one you can glance at to decide what you want so by the time you pull up to the speaker, you've got your shit together. At least that's the way I understood the rules about the drive-thru lane.
But apparently this woman had never been trained in the purpose of the first menu board. She just sat there, staring at the menu for what seemed like FOREVER. No one was in front of her, so there was no reason she couldn't pull forward and get on with it. What the hell?
Finally I saw her head come out of the drivers window. She leaned toward the sign meekly and said "hello?" into the ad for the newest Six Dollar Burger. The sign WITHOUT the speaker. "Hello?" she said again, waiting for the picture of the burger to take her order.
My window was already rolled down, in anticipation I would be able to get food sometime in this decade, so I stuck my head out and yelled at her. "Pull forward. You have to order at the NEXT sign."
She looked back at me, startled. Her eyes were wide. We just looked at each other for a full minute or two. Then, miraculously, I saw understanding slowly make its way across her face. "Oh," she said sheepishly. "Thanks."
She slowly pulled up to the next sign with the speaker sitting in front of it, as I shifted uncomfortably in my seat, trying not to think of the vice around my bladder getting tighter. "Hello?" she said again, this time into an actual device that could project her voice to someone who cared and was not an inanimate object.
"May I take your order?" the speaker crackled.
"Um, yes. I ... uh ... let me see ... "
You gotta be kidding me, I thought. Common lady! You could have memorized the entire menu by now!
"Um ..." she continued. "I have a question. The double bacon cheeseburger? What's on that?"
"BACON AND CHEESE YOU FUCKING MORON!" I wanted to blurt out. It wasn't like this was a French restaurant, where you couldn't understand the menu, or had to worry about some exotic ingredient being used in your food. This was a burger joint. Meat and bread was pretty much IT!
The speaker crackled as the employee at the other end explained the complexities of the meat and bread philosophy.
"Um ... okay," the lady responded. "So what comes with the meal if I order that?"
I was going insane. I could feel my brain twitching. My bladder was reaching the size of Helena's 10-pound cyst, and I was starting to look for weapons in the glove compartment of my car.
I could tell by the employee's static and tension-filled voice that I was not the only one getting PERTURBED, as he told her that a meal - and this is where she would probably need a calculator to really understand the formula - consisted of the burger PLUS fries PLUS a beverage of some sort.
"So what if I just wanted a drink and the burger, but no fries?" she asked.
"OH COMMON!" this time I did yell out of my window. "JUST ORDER YOUR DAMN FOOD ALREADY! THERE'S OTHER PEOPLE IN LINE, AND SOME OF US HAVE TO PEE!"
She looked nervously back at me. I appeared to have broken her train of thought. I had blown it. My outburst meant she was going to have to study the menu again because I had distracted her and made her forget about that whole meat and bread thing. FUCK!
Another 5 minutes went by as she tried to decide between a vanilla and chocolate shake, and went over her condiment choices. By the end of the ordering ordeal, I had seriously considered getting out of my car and peeing on HER, just to make a point. Or at least peeing on her tire.
I pulled up to the speaker and made my order in less than 30 seconds. I began to pull forward, and noticed the mini-van was CRAWLING around the turn to get to the window. In the process she had managed to take such a wide turn, that she drove over the curb. This caused her to panic again, and she put the van in reverse, backing up over the curb and almost wiping out my front end.
"HAVE YOU HAD A BLOW TO THE HEAD RECENTLY?" I yelled as I leaned out my window, fist in the air ... "BECAUSE NO ONE CAN BE THIS STUPID LADY. WHEN A DRIVE THRU CONFUSES YOU, YOU NEED TO STAY HOME. BECAUSE AT THIS RATE, YOU ARE GOING TO KILL SOMEONE, OR SOMEONE IS GOING TO KILL YOU!"
She looked at my face, all bunched up with rage, veins popping out of my neck (probably from the pee that had since overflowed from my bladder and was leaking out of my ears), and some sort of fight or flight response must have finally kicked in. She must have understood that this had now turned into a survival situation. She put her van into drive, pulled forward toward the window without incident, and paid for her food. When the employee gave her back change, she was shaking so hard that the coins flew out of her hand and onto the pavement. She didn't stop to retrieve them. She just pulled away, tires squealing, and drove off into the night with her vanilla shake and bacon double cheeseburger with extra mayo.
I got my food two minutes later. But by the time I pulled away from the restaurant, I had spent a full 40 minutes in the drive thru lane - the same time it would have taken to get REAL food at a REAL restaurant.
Then about a block from home, it happened. The final insult. I sneezed and managed to pee myself. Not a lot, mind you, but a little. Enough to cause me to tear up in frustration.
The stupid people had won again.
For more drive-thru adventures, check out Wierd Al's video, "Trapped in the Drive-Thru." Very funny stuff :)