Over the weekend I headed to McDonalds for dinner. I admit it, we go there at least once per week. Tom usually always gets two double cheeseburgers--which used to be on the dollar menu but thanks to this economy, they've now been bumped to $1.19 a piece.
I never know what I'm going to get until I get to McDonalds. This tends to irritate Tom who demands to know what I want the second we pull into the drive thru lane. Even if there are a line of cars in front of us, he'll constantly ask what I'm going to get.
"Let me think," I'll say calmly, which causes him to toss his hands in the air with frustration.
Honestly, why do I need to know what I want the second we get to McDonalds? I have my own method: I breathe in the delicious McDonalds smell swirling around the air and then I imagine myself eating different things.
I even take air bites, which Tom thinks is extremely weird.
"Uh? What are you doing?" he asked when we were first dating and had walked into McDonalds. I had just taken a mouth full of air and was trying to determine whether I wanted the chicken nuggets or the quarter pounder with cheese.
"I'm picturing myself eating the nuggets or the quarter pounder and determining which one excites my stomach more," I answered matter-of-factly. I took another bite for good measure.
I know. Sometimes I wonder how I managed to get married too. Most men would have turned and walked away quickly. They would have met up with their friends and been all, "Dude. She was like, eating AIR."
When I went to McDonalds over the weekend I was by myself. I had been set to make spaghetti for dinner but Tom had wandered in the kitchen as I pulled out the hamburger meat and went, "I'm actually not in the mood for spaghetti."
"It's what we're having," I replied in a no-nonsense voice.
But Tom knows how to play me and he said coyly, "How about McDonalds? You can go alone. I'll watch the--"
I was gone before he finished.
The spaghetti noodles in their box thunked to the ground as I headed out the door.
I don't get out by myself very often. So when I'm offered the chance, I always take advantage.
I slid in my beautiful PT Cruiser and backed out of the driveway. I saw Natalie rush over to the window. Her nose was pressed up on the glass and I saw her mouth move a few times.
I imagine she was shouting, "Mom? Mom?"
My heart ached briefly--and, I almost feel bad admitting this--but it really was only briefly because then my heart bubbled with excitement.
You're alone! You get to enjoy a car ride without kids screeching in the background. You can even sing without your son clamping his palms over his ears and proclaiming that your voice is "very very bad." When you get to McDonalds, you won't have to worry about your husband demanding to know what you want to eat.
Is it sad that I was thrilled over the prospect over a ride that would take no more than a half hour?
I started singing to myself as I drove towards the golden arches.
"You're hot and you're cold, you're yes and you're no, yah yah yah, we kiss and make up and fight and break up!" I sung/half wailed. Because yes, I admit it, my voice sounds like a cross between a "bah-ing" goat and an irritated cat. I've made my peace with the fact that I'll never win a grammy or be a star on American Idol. Well, maybe I could be one of those William Hung stars if I didn't mind humiliating myself in front of millions of views. But I do mind.
When I got to McDonalds I headed for the drive thru lane. There was only one car in front of me and I glanced at the menu to see what looked better.
Nuggets with honey?
Or a quarter pounder with cheese?
Or did I want to branch out and go with a Big Mac. Mmmm, the picture looked tasty. But then I remembered that they stuff the burger with lettuce and while I enjoy ruffage, I'd rather have more meat, you know?
I did my famous air bite and my stomach seemed to respond more to the quarter pounder with cheese.
So I went with that.
Plus I got Tom's double cheeseburgers, a hamburger Happy Meal for Tommy and a chicken nugget Happy Meal for Natalie. With the apple fries because she seems to prefer those to actual fries. I really don't know where she came from. I mean apple fries to real fries? Huh? I made sure to specify that one toy was for a boy and the other was for a girl. Because they had mini video games for boys and jewelry stuff for girls and heaven forbid if Tommy got a princess watch.
It happened before and he was so insulted.
"But I'm a BOY!" he screeched, holding the offending girl toy between his thumb and forefinger as though it were a mouse.
Natalie could care less at this point. Heck, she's intrigued by the quarter pounder with cheese box to be honest. I could give her that and she'd entertain herself for at least five minutes, opening and closing the thing and telling me seriously, "He sleep," after sticking one of her mini My Little Pony's in there.
My total came to twelve something so I pulled out a twenty as I stopped in front of the payment window.
"That'll be two fifty-eight," the worker told me and stretched her hand out for the money.
Now, I WISH all that food would come to two fifty-eight. But it's 2009 and that sort of thing will never happen.
And because I believe in Karma (and, you know, being a good and honest person) and knew Karma would totally pop my tire on the way home if I didn't speak up, I explained that my total was supposed to be twelve something.
The worker recoiled her hand back and typed on her computer.
"Oh," she said. "You're right."
As I gave her the proper amount I thought about that show What Would You Do? which airs on ABC on Tuesday nights. The show basically has a bunch of different segments--one was where a woman left her baby in the backseat of a car while she went to shop and it basically shows the reaction of people who walk by. (Don't worry, the baby was a doll and the woman was an actress.)
Some people do nothing.
Others speak up.
They have segments like the one I had just experienced too. Once at a grocery store the cashier purposely gave $20 more back in change and the cameras waited to see who would return the money.
Most people did not.
Then when the cameras popped out and they were asked why they didn't return the money some people were all, "Well, it was the store's mistake!"
Some pretended not to have noticed even though the camera clearly caught them staring at the extra money and inwardly debating what to do about it.
So, okay, I admit it, I was wondering if the show had set up in Cheyenne, Wyoming and was checking to see how honest its citizen were.
I wasn't about to look like an ass on national television. I didn't want John Quinones (the host of the show) to leap out of the bushes with a microphone in hand and demand to know why I didn't pay the proper amount.
Then I pulled up to get my food. And they had an extra quarter pounder with cheese in my bag. And instead of a kid's size HI-C orange they gave me a medium.
Okay John Quinones. The jig is up. I know you're here.
"Excuse me," I told a worker who practically hurled my bag at me and was retreating her upper body back inside. She looked irritated and leaned back out.
"What?" she barked.
You're on national television. You COULD be a little more cheerful. That could be another segment: How Would YOU react if a McDonalds worker behaved as though she had a Big Mac stuck up her arse?
"Um, I only ordered one quarter pounder with cheese and this HI-C orange should be a Kid Size," I explained.
She blinked at me for a few seconds as though she couldn't comprehend what I was saying. Then it seemed to register because she shrugged and went, "Oh, keep it. I'll just have to throw them out anyhow since I already handed them over."
It's not like I spit in them or anything. Plus, my car is clean. I can understand them being wary about people with cigarette butts and litter sprinkled around their car. But I pride myself in keeping my car clean. Well, sort of clean. It's not PERFECT but at least people aren't sitting on trash or anything.
"Are you sure?" I asked.
She gave a long sigh. "Positive," she replied sarcatically and then disappeared behind the swinging windows.
Geez lady. John Quinones might have to ask you what bug flew up your nostril.
I pulled away and nearly expected to find cameras suddenly appear. And John Quinones strolling out from behind a bush.
"You did the right thing," he'd praise. "Why?"
"Because my parents raised me properly," I imagined myself answering. "And it's the right thing to do." Then I'd flash a wide smile.
But no cameras morphed into my vision.
There was no John Quinones.
It was just McDonalds making mistakes.