Along the Trail: Takeout
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.