by Constance Daley
American Reporter Correspondent
St. Simons Island, Ga.
August 7, 2009
DO WE WANT TO CONNECT, OR NEED TO?
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- "Oh my God!" I exclaimed to my wife, slamming the car door.
"The kids are in the car," she said, reminding me not to go into one of my, uh, colorful outbursts while little ears were within range. Then she saw the look on my face, and realized that ship was about ready to sail anyway. "What's the problem?"
I explained as calmly as I could, without sounding like Yosemite Sam in a hysterical frenzy. My youngest daughter and I had gone into McDonald's to get an iced tea, and a water for my youngest daughter. The rest of the family just wanted to wait in the car. When I got inside, we were in line behind 16 people and one open register. A family of six, followed by a group of 10.
The family of six was having trouble trying to order a simple meal, and since they were taking so long, someone opened up the other register, and the group of 10 - a church youth group, it turned out - all swarmed to the open register like horny bees on a flower.
"I just want an iced tea and a water," I wanted to say. "Why do I need to stand in line for a stupid iced tea and a water?!" But I didn't. We weren't in a hurry, we were just out for a nice drive, and decided to take a quick break. So, no rush, no deadline, no need to be anywhere, and I'm not a jerk, so no outburst.
The leader of the big group made it really simple. "We want 10 small ice cream cones." The cashier rang it up: $10.80 And then, rather than asking someone else to make them, she made them all herself. The whole thing took less than five minutes.
Not so surprisingly, the family of six was still at the cash register apparently trying to figure out how many mathematical combinations of hamburger and fries they could arrange.
"They had to have a conversation with each kid about the whys and wherefores of their meal. The United Nations passes resolutions faster than these people. I mean, you don't need a discussion about the global ramifications of getting a friggin' hamburger and fries with each child when there are people in line behind you!"
My wife just waited patiently. She has learned that when I get on one of these rants, it's better to just let me run out of gas.
We're actually pretty lucky with our kids. For one thing, they're young enough to order from the children's menu. And while they like just about anything we feed them, they have their favorites. So we work it out beforehand what they want to eat. We don't make the cashier or wait staff wait for our kids to decide. Unlike some people I could name.
"And then, while they were deconstructing the regional agricultural subsidies needed for McDonald's pickles, the previous kid would come up and change his order. I swear, I would not have been surprised if they had written a mission statement and a set of goals."
"And then," I continued, pointing wildly to the heavens. "And then, the dad keeps turning around to see where the kids are, and he's wearing a ball cap. All I can see on the cap is 'State University.' And I think, is he from Ball State? Illinois State? Indiana State? I'm hoping he's not from Ball State - " my alma mater "because then I'll think that we truly did graduate some morons from there."
My wife gave me a look, wondering where all of this was going.
"Where is this going?" she said.
"When the guy finally turns around, to find out if the ambassador from But-I-want-Chickenstan wants pickles on his sandwich, it says Ohio State University on his stupid hat."
"So?" she said.
"So the guy was a Buckeye!" I said. "More like a buckhead," I added.
"Language," she warned.
"I should have known. You can always tell a Buckeye. You just can't tell 'em much."
"What does that have to do with this story?"
"Nothing," I admitted. "I just feel better saying it."
"But you would have said it if he had been from Illinois State or Indiana State, right?"
I calmed down a bit, having gotten my rant out of my system. I smiled at her. "You know me so well."
"I know. After almost 16 years of marriage, I know what to expect from your little outbursts. It helps me understand little things, like why you only got one water, instead of two."
"Language!" she said a half-second later.
AR Humpor Writer Erik Deckers publishes his column and other humorous articles at his http://laughing-stalk.blogspot.com>Laughing Stalk blog.