I can do this
As more sand slides down life’s hour glass, I find myself forced to say, “I can do this”. This usually is in response to some new gadget or application. Not wanting to be left behind, I try and mostly fail, to understand or use the latest thing on the market. Lack of interest combined with lack of problem solving skills leaves me struggling. No one likes to be left in the dust of progress, or what is presented as progress. This week provided me with the latest attempt to be a “modern guy”.
During a trip to the “Northside”, I found myself running behind schedule, so I opted to grab a quick bite at a “fast food” restaurant. The name shall remain anonymous, but they are all basically the same. I walked in, and there was the usual swarm of school age kids milling about.
The first sign said, “Order online.” I thought this ironic as the young folks were ordering on their smart phones not six feet from the counter. Each to their own, I reasoned, and moved along ahead of them.
At this point, I was greeted by large, brightly lit screens telling me “Order here!” Wanting to be a modern guy, I thought “why not?” Besides, traditional lineups appeared to be non-existent.
Confidently, I strode to the machine as the clerks looked on with bemusement. How did they know? I looked at the screen and pressed “burger”, then “fries” and then “diet soft drink” - I had to make some concession to the waist line. I reviewed my order and stood back flush with success. Except nothing happened. The machine did not say “submit”, “add to cart”, or “confirm.” It stood in mute testimony to my ineptitude.
I could see the oldest clerk edging forward in case I needed her. I raised my hand, as if to say “No, I’m good, but thanks.” Everyone else behind me was ordering online or passing me to go to the counter so, I thought, I will try this again. Press burger, press fries, press diet soda. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. No bells, no commands, no taped voices. Nothing. The oldest clerk was leaning in now, her body language saying it all. I could feel the unbelieving stares of the teens behind me. They must have decided I was from the ice age.
There is an old saying that states “It is better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all!” I guess so. Maybe. After two attempts at what an orangutan could have managed, I gave up. The older clerk waved me over and gave me the smile of a sympathetic grandmother.
“Happens all the time,” she told me, “That’s why I never use those things.”
I think she was lying through her teeth, but it was nice of her to say so. I got my order the old-fashioned way and eventually headed out belly full, but head empty.
All the way home, I kept wondering if that older lady was just a plant of the restaurant so folks like me could be served and moved out of the way? I prefer to think she was just someone’s gram and was used to helping folks in distress. Folks like me.