Sunday, November 26, 2006

Go Ahead ... Make My Day

I was in a pretty good mood, I thought. I was freshly showered and ready to start easing my way back into real life. I went outside, where it was an unseasonably warm 55 degrees or so, and off Trucklet and I went.

First stop, McDonald's at Exit 15. I was just craving a Quarter Pounder with cheese meal. So, I stop and go inside. There is a rather long line (because you know they are serving all the asshats in the drive-thru lane before they wait on you) but I joined the queue and patiently waited my turn.

I finally got to the counter and placed my order and as I was waiting, I heard the gentleman next to me mutter under his breath "Do you think you can go any slower?" I turned and looked at him and he nodded his head toward the extremely overweight teenager that was filling our orders. "Look at how slow she's moving. I'm getting fed up with this place. It hasn't been the same since the new owners took over."

I smiled sympathetically and said "Yes, service isn't what it used to be. I just came back from vacation and I was really disappointed in the service I received."

"I used to come here three times a week," he said, "but now ..." his voice trailed off. The slow moving teenager finally made it back to the counter with his tray and he rushed off to join his wife. I stood there, waiting on my order. I had fries and a drink cup, but the Quarter Pounder was nowhere in sight. I could tell they were simply backed up, so I stepped away from the counter and filled my drink.

I was trying to be patient, thinking that at least I was going to get a fresh burger and not something that had been sitting there for 20 minutes. The counter was virtually clear at this point, but there was a line of people running parallel to the counter, waiting for the next clerk to call them up.

A woman came directly in front of the line, and stood at the counter. I noticed the man behind her give a look, because it appeared that she was cutting the line. She looked at me and I lifted my eyebrows and said (in what I thought was a non-accusatory and non-threatening way) "I think there's a line."

She looked at me again, and said "I just want a fork" and then three beats later "Is that okay with you?"

I don't think I said anything, but then she was at me again, something like what's your problem or what's it to you? I said "You didn't see the look behind you."

"If he's got a problem, he'll say something."

I'm thinking, whoa! Back off, bitch. But by then I've allowed her to zap my serenity and I can't help saying "Have a nice day" as she walks by with her fork. And then it was on. Neither one of us wanted to let the other one have the last word. She snapped something about "have a nice day yourself" to me and I said "you need it" and she came back around and said "what did you say?" and I repeated myself and then said "goodbye" and I can tell she was just waiting for me to turn around but I didn't.

What was that all about? Here I am, just trying to promote good manners in the world by pointing out that there was a line. No, I didn't realize that she was just asking for a fork, and as soon as she said so, I'm sure whatever hostility that may have been in my voice was gone. No, of course I didn't mind if all she needed was a fork. But that was all she had to say, she didn't need to follow it up with "Is that okay with you?"

I continued on my way and slowly but surely I regained my composure. I stopped at the bank, picked up a few things at BJ's and then went to the grocery store. At least I have bread and milk in the fridge once again. On to the next chore - laundry.

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