Review 2006



Suw from Strange Attractor asks:
Which bit of trivia about you would you like to be remembered by?

Given that I haven't reached legendary status (yet) it's hard to judge what can be classed as good trivia, especially the trivia my life. The 100 things about me is a good start and glancing through those entries, I'm sure one day I'll elaborate on number twenty-three, 'I haven't seen the girl I had my first kiss with since two minutes after it happened' but given the answer to the love question which still dare not speak its name I think I'm going to choose number ninety-four, 'I once walked through a Macdonalds drive-in to get a burger with the cars. I wasn't drunk' which I wrote about many, many moons ago, but I think bares repeating here because I think it makes me look more daring and crazy than I actually am.

Unless you include the fact that I hadn't my notice in at my job before I knew that I had been accepted to university.

It was 1998, I was in my early twenties and the sitcom Friends was in one of its good patches. My friend Tris had been away and missed much of season two, so I'd been to his then new house for a catch up night. We began at after dinner and by eleven we realised that there are only so many episodes of any programme you can watch in a single evening. As I'm leaving I realise I'm still hungry, and since the only place open at that time of night was Macdonalds, and this was in the years before the release of Super Size-Me, I decide to drop in there on the way home.

When I get to the retail park where the restaurant is (and still is), I find that actually the damn place is shut. This was a bit disappointing, especially since I'd walked in the pouring rain for nearly twenty minutes getting lost on the way. Then I noticed that the drive-thru is open. I look at the people in their warm cars all being served with the processed meat on sesame seed buns with cheese and it just doesn't seem fair that they would get food simply because they're sitting in a shelter on wheels. At the back of my mind, years of watching those tv commercial with the clown coalesced and even though as I've already stressed, I wasn't under the influence of alcohol, I decide that the best thing to do is join the queue. With the cars. Without a car.

The queue is not short - by the time I arrive there must be about twenty-five car. I'm standing there, in my long black woolen coat, which is just sponging up those raindrops, wondering what the personal number plate 'FO 1' means. The kid on the back seat of the car in front is staring at me, and the guy in the car that just pulled up behind me honks his horn. I glare at him and wish I had something to honk back at him.

I stand there for a good ten minutes. As with any good human queue, I move forward with the other bodies, bending the corners in the lane that twists around the building. Of course, I knew all this was vaguely -- unusual. But I kept saying to myself - pickled gerkins, cheese, lettuce, beef, all wrapped up in a sesame seed bun. A guy in a car a few ahead in the queue opens his window and asks me were I left my sun roof.

I first spotted the police as they were cruised up the carriageway. I thought nothing of it. Then they appeared around the corner in front and actually give me a drive by. We eyed each other as they passed-by, and I could tell that they are checking me out to see if I was alright, something which was probably debatable. Was I actually breaking the law doing this? I decide that if I run, or try and disappear, it will look even noe suspicious so I stand my ground. At the back of my mind all I can think of is that I'm about to be done for causing an obstruction or breaking one of the unspoken laws of the road.

The police disappear. I sigh and step forward determined to reach the front.

A window opens in the car in front and a girl drops her head out. She asks me what I'm doing. I tell her I'm waiting in the queue because of my burger craving and because the restaurant is closed. It is now, some twenty minutes after I'd stood there, that she decides to tell me that there is actually a window at the front for people like me (although not obviously people like me) who are on foot. At first I don't believe her. But she insists.

I shrug and approach her.
'Could you do me a favour?' I ask.
She shrugs.
'Could you keep my place?'
It takes a few moments for this to register with her. She nods and says quietly 'Well OK', and I charge off looking for the window, already deciding that I'll simply go home if the window doesn't exist, knowing I'd looked like a tart for quite long enough.

The window exists. I arrive and order a cheeseburger and fries. I'm bedraggled and feel like an idiot. But I tell the girl serving my story, hoping to break her obvious sullenness at having to serve people like me at one o'clock on a Saturday night. She has every right to be depressed. But it has the right effect. She laughs hard and loud though, and then tells me in her lovely Glaswegian accent that I've made her evening and it will come in really useful at 3 o'clock when she still has half of her shift to go. We chat for a moment while she works. She tells me that their computer keeps bollixing up and losing orders. Which is why there is a tailback of cars in a usually efficient system.

I hadn't worked for a while (alright years) and I asks her if it is worth joining that branch and after a moment's thought, she says yes, and tells me were to apply. Like all near-great real life stories, this one doesn't have a punch line, I didn't get her phone number, we did not go out, for issues probably related somewhat to why I never saw the girl I had my first kiss with again. But for now I'm happy with that as my memorable bit of trivia, at least because it proves number ninety-four on the list -- that I don't need to get drunk to do weird things.

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