Along the Trail: Take­out

The Victoria Standard - - CULTURE / HERITAGE - CHUCK THOMP­SON

In­stinc­tively, I knew this was not go­ing to go well. If it had not been such a bit­terly cold win­ter day, I would have in­sisted on go­ing in­side. But dis­cre­tion was the bet­ter part of valor. I ac­qui­esced and agreed to use the drive thru win­dow. That was mis­take num­ber one.

I have been us­ing drive thru since the first day the plas­tic talk­ing bear ap­peared out­side an A&W and a tray hung on the win­dow. I had trou­ble un­der­stand­ing the talk­ing menu board back then. With the con­tin­u­ing loss of hear­ing, it has be­come al­most im­pos­si­ble to grasp what the drive thru at­ten­dant is say­ing.

On our way home, we had pulled up to a sand­wich type place and I was imag­in­ing how this was all go­ing to play out. I mean even when I walk in­side and make eye con­tact with a server it is not pretty. I can man­age to pick out the main item and then ev­ery­thing goes south. Quickly. And this is when I have an ea­ger per­son stand­ing right in front of me!

Well, at the box it was much worse. I started by or­der­ing a sub and then the rapid fire ques­tion­ing be­gan.

“What kind of bread do you want, Sir?”

“What kind do you have?” I replied. I re­gret­ted ask­ing that one the minute the words were in the air. I mean what­ever hap­pened to “white or whole wheat?”

Then, at a ma­chine-gun pace, I had to pick out ev­ery gar­nish known to man: pick­les (hot, or dill), toma­toes, let­tuce, cheese (“what kind, Sir?”).

“What ksssh… of… ksssh… ksssh… do you want, sir?”

“Par­don?” I replied tilt­ing my head and strain­ing my ears. Oh my, even in the frigid Fe­bru­ary air I was sweat­ing gum­drops. With my driv­ing com­pan­ions help I com­pleted the or­der but I wasn’t sure if I was go­ing to get a sub sand­wich or an oil change at Mr. Lube. I started to miss the old root bear. It did work out in the end. As I jug­gled the meal on my lap I gnawed open the sub all wrapped in some kind of bread that the CIA couldn’t iden­tify.

As any­one who has ever fre­quented these places knows, get­ting the food is just part of the bat­tle.

First you have to get ev­ery­thing out of the over­sized plas­tic bag, and then ac­tu­ally try to eat it. The whole sand­wich is wrapped tighter than a sprint­ers an­kle in a track meet. No mat­ter how care­fully you try to chew around the whole thing you are guar­an­teed to look down and see the sauce you picked out (one of about a dozen choices), sit­ting just about neck level on your favourite jacket. Any ex­tra condi­ments have dis­ap­peared be­neath the seat and will reap­pear in a moldy con­coc­tion some months from now.

Guar­an­teed the pop will spill and the postage size servi­ette they give you will not do the job in the least. It will only smear, not clean, any of­fend­ing mess you may have cre­ated in the cramped quar­ters of your au­to­mo­bile.

Let me say with­out fear of con­tra­dic­tion that cars were made to drive in, not eat in. That was true in the day of the bear and it is true to­day. Make life eas­ier on your­self. Walk in­side, they will be glad to serve you.

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