Finding Love at the Golden Arches
I found love at the Golden Arches. The dust had settled over the fields across from the school and the road there was worn and unkempt. I didn’t care. I knew what I wanted and no amount of pesticides, farming odor, and pair of potholes were going to stop me on my journey to happiness. I hadn’t eaten all morning and was feeling a bit of rotgut from the 24 oz of coffee I had downed on my commute. I fantasized about the habanera ranch sauce and crispy chicken wrapped in a tortilla for two hours while showing students a corny yet provocative lifetime movie based on the true story of some girl. I didn’t pay much attention. I wanted a taste of what a clown in a yellow suit felt was a taste of the southwest. When I pulled up to the golden arches I walked in only to find that breakfast food was being served. How was it only 10:15?! I’d been up for four hours, worked for three of them and thought about that delicious mass-produced chicken wrap for two of them. It surely should have manifested itself by now!
I walked in towards the counter and then walked away and then walked back. Should I ask? “Are you only serving breakfast? The answer could crush my spirit if I did so. It was my fear that 11am was the shifting point from egg mcmuffins to unending joy. Forty-Five minutes would seem like an eternity. The daunting task of making eye contact frightened me. The attendant was a woman and A woman’s glance can be the most energizing and uplifting moment or it can be an insight into hell with Satan waving his tail and flames consuming your heart. I had a decision to make. I’d been standing here for twenty seconds with no action.
I decided to ask. I sucked it up, grew some balls and asked the woman at the counter when lunch would be served.
“Fifteen more minutes”
JOY!!!!! I wanted to kiss her right there and say “Thank you, Satan”
I had the patience for fifteen minutes.
I strolled back in to the parking lot taking in the unpleasant odors with a renewed sense of life. I could go to the library across the street for 15 minutes and keep myself busy. I pulled out from the golden arches and straight across to the library. The two potholes seemed like perfectly placed imperfections on my journey. What a day! One car sat in the lot. It was A Mercedes or Audi or some kraut car. Were they open? I pulled around to the front and the employees had the operating hours listed on a sheet taped to the door. It was small and I could not read it. I decided getting out of my car was too much effort and drudgery to be wasting on a day where I would enjoy happiness. I now had thirteen minutes to kill. I drove past the pair of potholes once again and towards one end of town. Everything was written in Spanish except for the Subway, Burger King, Little Cesar’s pizza and a taco/burger stand that listed a Texas Burger for $1.99. Would this quench my hunger I thought? I quickly expelled that idea as rubbish and kept driving. I had made it to the other end of town and still had 9 minutes to kill.
On my drive there were four carnecerias, three Mexican/American restaurants, two pizza places and a Chinese restaurant in a pear tree. My hunger was growing. The time had come. I made my way back visiting my two friends once again and pulling into the golden arches. I exited my car and after being spoiled by filtered air for eight minutes, I was no longer receptive to the odors of this town. I hurried inside.
To my excitement the menus were changed and the smell of French fries had replaced the smell of hash browns. I was in the right place. I ordered happiness with a side of apples and a sweet tea and by the end of it all it had been exactly fifteen minutes. I took my order to my seat and with an internal Glasgow smile and external stoicism opened my apples. I wanted to ensure I had nutrition this day. The apples were not what I knew as apples but waxy caricatures of apples devoid of any moisture or sweetness. It’s as if they’re apples that became depressed and cynical and are now tainting the children with their pessimistic tone. It was time for the main event. The tortilla filled with crispy chicken, habanera ranch, ranch flavored tortilla chips cut into strips, and filler items that imitated real vegetables. The indigenous people of southwest America would most certainly laugh at this creation but I didn’t care.
I took my first bite and it was savory and fulfilling. A sip of sweet tea to wash it down and I was on my way to bliss. Adjacent to me was the female attendant setting up a new hire. I was awe struck by the new employee. I wanted to talk to her but was consumed with my meal. There was no need anyway. She no doubt sensed the signals put out that I loved her. Cheap talk was not necessary. Romance could come later. I was half-way done with my meal and sipped more sweet tea eight minutes in. The Love of my life was now sitting alone and her shirt had “Love” written across it. There was now no need to know her name. It was Love at McDonalds. She would now fit well into my past romances to be with Roxy Quicksilver from the Dollar Store and Chevron Customer Service Assistant Wendy.
The meal was finished and I was satisfied. It was a happy fourteen minutes. I was now too full for any meaningful conversation and the girl of my dreams was busy doing paperwork. There would be a time for us but this was not it. I had twenty minutes to get back to school and set up the movie for the next class. Damn fleeting romance and passion! I walked back out with sweet tea in hand, holding my breath for the walk outside, and towards my car. I drove away from the arches noticing my two closest confidants were still hanging out. The library still did not look open or it was but I had no time to care. It was going to be a great day!
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