I walked into the “restaurant“ and nobody was near the main counter, on the civilian side or the worker side. So, I stood and waited. And just as an employee approached the cash register, a holler-dwelling couple shuffled in and started to tell her what they wanted.
“Excuse me?! I was here first!” I should’ve shouted, but didn’t. You’ve got to pick your battles, and this one didn’t seem to rise to an actionable level. But that didn’t stop me from silently steaming about it…
The man appeared to have been digging ditches since November of 1983, and had a head the size of a softball. All his features were bunched together into one small area of his face, despite the shocking smallness of his overall head. And his wife (or whatever) looked like the Liberty Bell with a faded Garth Brooks t-shirt stretched over the top. I noticed she had no chin whatsoever; it was just neck, then mouth.
They had an unruly little girl, with one eye that seemed to roll around in its socket: an absolute free-agent, attached to nothing. She wandered through the place, bothering people and making strange noises with impunity.
The man began ordering, and acted like he’d never been in public before. He asked an endless string of stupid questions, and seemed to believe this was his own personal fast food restaurant.
“And can I get one of those, what are they called, Cokes? Are those any good? Have you ever tried one? Cokes? I knew this old boy, one of my ditch brothers in Tallahassee… or was it Houston? No, it was Tallahassee! He tried a Coke once, and couldn’t stop talking about it…”
I thought my brain might fly apart.
Finally, another employee opened a second cash register, and a seasoned citizen made a move for it. “Not a second time!” I either yelled or thought loudly, and nearly body-checked gramps into the McCafe.
For a brief second I felt kind of bad about my aggressiveness, but noticed the old goat had a white ponytail down his back. So, screw him. His hairstyle caused me to instantly reassess my feelings on the subject.
I was buying lunch for me and our oldest son, who is home sick today. And I started…
“Yes, I’d like a ten piece Chicken McNugget, and-”
“The meal or just the nuggets?”
“Just the nuggets. And I’d-”
“What? Oh yeah, barbecue I guess. And I’d like-”
“Two or three?”
Goddamn! I couldn’t finish a freakin’ sentence. The woman kept peppering me with questions. And I was just trying to order lunch, not apply for a mortgage.
Finally, I was allowed to get it all out, and moved aside. And ol’ Noam Chomsky Mother Jones Rules for Radicals filled the void I’d created in front of the order-taker.
“Senior coffee!” he demanded, hatefully. “And a couple of those cookies. Chocolate chip! I get a discount on those too, right?”
The woman said yes, he begrudgingly paid, and snatched the receipt from her hand. Then he stood there studying the thing, on high-alert for evidence of the right-wing plot to cheat him out of his twelve cent discount.
After ponytail was finished being a complete asshole, I realized the ditch digger and Belle were STILL placing their order. Man, if they hadn’t opened a second register I would’ve either been long-gone by now, or paralyzed by a stroke.
I stood and waited while somebody stacked-up my pillar of fat, and a guy stinking of management eventually handed me a bag with the top rolled down. “Here ya go,” he said, and walked away. Wow! How friendly.
Then a man with his tie tucked inside his dress shirt, and hollering into a cell phone, almost knocked me down as I attempted to exit the joint. He had one of those “going places” purposeful walks, and a pair of douchey shades.
“This is like some sort of asshole jamboree!” I shouted in exasperation, once I was finally free of the place. And two middle-aged women overheard, and laughed.
But the food turned out to be pretty good — the pillar was masterfully constructed — and I’m giving the overall experience a C+, up from my original grade of C-.
This is Jeff Kay reporting.