Help! I am trapped in a fast-food line and I can’t get out!
I’m running late for work — again — so I whipped into this drive-through to snatch up a quick lunch to take with me. Life in the fast lane. But here I sit four minutes later.
Had I stopped to smell the roses outside the store lobby, I’d be eating by now, not inhaling the faulty exhaust of the car boxed in ahead of me. We’re both waiting on the woman with the big order in front of us. We have a mini-parade of hungry hopefuls behind us.
Note to my congressman: We need a law limiting the amount or complexity of food one vehicle can order in the drive-through. Either that, or all drive-throughs must have escape lanes.
Six minutes now. We are a drive-through society — when we can get through, that is. We never have to leave our cars to bank, or for medicine, beverages, groceries, photos or pretty much anything else. Even weddings have drive-through windows, though that mostly stays in Las Vegas. Except my office hasn’t been refined yet to a drive-through desk. Not that I could get there if it was.
It’s been eight minutes and the big woman in the little red car continues to block the window while the rest of us sit here trapped like steer in a stockyard chute. The gates are closed in front of us and behind us, and there is no jumping the fence.
Nine minutes. I’m regretting all the times I jeered my friends who drive SUVs and pickup. If I were in one of those babies now, I’d pop over the curb and be out of here, food or no food. But my little Chevy Malibu doesn’t have a lot of clearance. I’m not sure how much I’d tear off the bottom before hanging it up on the asphalt barrier. Then I’d still be out my $4.95, my combo cholesterol meal and my job. And towing.
Finally! The first bag is being passed to the woman in the red car. She’s taking it… She’s peering inside… NUTS! She’s waving it off! She’s shaking her head and handing the bag back through the drive-through window.
We’re at 12 minutes and ticking like so many time bombs waiting to go off. I wonder if there are enough of us in line yet to push that red car out of our way. Just a thought. Ketchup packs would be nice, too, but that would take too much time.
I once worked at a fast-food restaurant and the rule was if you couldn’t get the bag out the window in minute, you directed the car out of the lane and into a designated parking spot. When the food was ready, you ran it out to them.
Not here. While the woman waits for her chow, the rest of us sit in a stew. The server is trying again. One bag… She looks… She keeps it! Another bag. Another! One more and … SHE’S DRIVING AWAY!
It’s been fifteen minutes. The car in front of me pulls up. He’s had plenty of time to count out the exact change. I watched him do it through his back window. He’s handing up the money… He dropped the change! It’s bouncing all over the place! He’s trying to open the door, which is wedged against the drive-through wall, to gather up the errant coins which are rolling all over. No. He’s not going to… He’s crawling out his window like a Duke of Hazzard. Oh, c’mon, mister, don’t try to fish the quarter out of the grate!
Eighteen minutes. I hope my bosses aren’t looking for me — or busy working on my pink slip. They won’t find me. I’m stuck in the fast lane.