I went to Burger King a few days ago.
My mother was driving, because I am morally opposed to speaking into a box and too lazy to get out of the car and go inside to order.
Where was I?
Right. Burger King.
The Kia in front of us seemed to be taking a long time. Like, three full minutes, which doesn’t sound like much, but if you were to stop and count to 180, you’d realize that’s an inordinate amount of time to spend ordering food.
“What’s taking them so long?” I asked. “This is Burger King. They sell hamburgers and French fries. How hard is it to order a hamburger and French fries?”
I mean, there are only so many variations on a burger and fries. Even if the car’s occupants wanted crispy chicken and onion rings, that would only account for an extra five or six seconds as the order-taker looks for a less-familiar button on the register.
Still, the Kia sat. I stared at the picture of the Angry Whopper on the menu board. I began to empathize with the Whopper. I was getting pretty angry, myself. And hungry.
“Maybe each burger is special-order,” my mother suggested.
I couldn’t argue there. You are supposed to be able to have it “Your Way” after all. Of course, my way involves a lot less time burning ever-more-expensive gasoline in the drive-thru, but I digress.
Finally, the Kia pulled forward, and we pulled up to the box. The previous order was still on the screen. I expected to see a long list of food, each item special-ordered, but was surprised to find that they’d ordered only about five things – burgers and fries all.
“Well what the heck took them so long?” I asked.
My mother knew better than to answer me.
After a moment, a man’s voice came out of the box.
“Welcome to Burger King, would you like to try a value meal today?”
“Yes, I’d like a number 4, no cheese, ketchup only,” my mother said slowly and carefully. I always get a number 4, no cheese, ketchup only, but sometimes this falls beyond the comprehension of the average fast-food employee. “Large size, with a root beer.”
There was silence.
“Okay, that’s a number 1. Would you like cheese on that?”
“No, a number four, no cheese,” my mother corrected.
Silence. Then, a woman’s voice. “Okay, what size and what to drink?”
I always find it a bit disconcerting when a man takes my order and a woman repeats it back, or vice versa. I always hope that they’ve been communicating with each other. They didn’t seem to have been.
The car behind us inched closer to our bumper, apparently in the hope that if he hit us, we’d get a move on.
My mother repeated the order. It had become abundantly clear why the Kia had taken so long to order.
We pulled up behind the Kia at the window. The fact that the Kia was still at the window sort of worried me, considering how long as it had taken us to order. I wondered if, inside, they were still peeling potatoes for the fries.
The driver of the Kia was handed a large sack. I could see the driver digging through the bag. I can’t say I blamed him. Finally, he pulled away and we moved up to the window.
They had our total right, that was reassuring. Then the woman who opened the window spoke.
“You wanted a Coke, right?”