Today was a day that was a bit of a stretch. Not that celebrating McDonald’s is hard to do. That’s pretty easy. It’s just that celebrating McDonald’s wasn’t my first choice and in fact it was a bit of an obscure holiday in regards to days that are celebrated on April 15th. I suppose the bigger holiday today was National Glazed Spiral Ham Day. On any other day cooking a big hunk of ham in a golden sweet glaze would be a treat, but making that wasn’t in the cards for today. First, I’m pretty sure the menu at my sister’s house for our Easter dinner will include ham so I didn’t want to make a giant ham for just Lola and I and then have it again 24 hours later. Second, I didn’t really have the time. It was a busy day for both of us and I had to work from 11:30 until about 6 pm. We had friends coming by for a visit at night, so there was no time to cook a ham. And there wasn’t much else to choose from in regards to holidays. I was hoping there would be something sweet being celebrated today that I could bang out fast and serve it to our fiends or even just have it for Easter, but no such luck. Outside of Glazed Ham Day, it was Tax Day, it was Rubber Eraser Day, it was Take a Wild Guess Day and it was Titanic Remembrance Day – but nothing I could really celebrate. Even the month holidays that are celebrated in April gave me nothing. There was lots of declared holidays, but nothing that I could dive into for the day. I was kind of stuck.
That’s when I discovered it was National McDonald’s Day. I found it on one of the more obscure websites I reference for daily holidays. I’m not even sure how authentic it is, but it was officially listed and seemed to be a thing. It would have to work. It still gave me the dilemma of how to celebrate and I didn’t think bringing home a dozen Big Macs as the food for our Saturday night fun would be appreciated. Maybe it would have, but I couldn’t bank on it. Then, as I started to run behind, I realized exactly how to appropriately celebrate McDonald’s. It would be to take advantage of their convenience. While I know that some people enjoy going to McDonald’s and I don’t mean to disparage that, to me a trip to McDonald’s is a choice of easiness, convenience and speed. You know what you’re going to get in regards to menu, taste and options and you’ll get it fast. Because I was running late, that pushed my hand towards what I feel is the typical McDonald’s experience. I was in a hurry, I needed something to eat and it was just minutes away.
The closest McDonald’s to us is about 8 miles down East Main Road which is a road that runs across the entire Aquidneck Island. My work is also on East Main Road although probably only 7 miles away. It was 11 am and I needed to be at work at 11:30. I had not eaten anything all day and wanted to have something in my belly before a shift where I wouldn’t get the opportunity to eat anything. Eating first was almost essential. On paper, this plan works perfectly. I go to McDonald’s, order a quick lunch, eat it on the quick and then be at work in time and ready to go. But, to anyone that has never driven on East Main Road, it’s not exactly a speedway and it is plagued by more lights than the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center. Plus there is traffic turning and entering all along the way. It’s not a road that you can ever plan on to be speedy. I was up against the clock for sure. Here is how my timeline played out:
11:06 am – I’m at the lights at Clements’ which is less than a half-mile from home, McDonald’s is about seven miles away. I’m definitely running late. East Main Road seems somewhat busy today with holiday traffic. Clements’ looks mobbed.
11:14 am – I am at Oliphant Lane which is about a little over a mile away from McDonald’s. Amazingly this was the first light I get stopped at on the ride. That’s some sort of miracle. I was able to weave down the street avoiding slow drivers and any rogue turners who always seem to halt traffic. I made it. I could do this.
11:17 am – I am at Aquidneck Avenue. I can’t see the golden arches yet but I know they are just on the other side of the incline we are about to go up. I have passed by work and they didn’t seem all that busy. I also got stuck behind a bicyclist in the right lane who was slowing me down quite a bit. I am a bit concerned as my pace has slowed. Why would someone ride their bike on East Main Road? Anger swells.
11:18 am – I am at the light directly in front of McDonald’s and I can’t turn in because there is a car in front of me. I have to wait for the light change. I see another car turn into the drive-thru coming from the other direction and I realize that they will be in front of me now. It was a family in a minivan. That could be bad news. Just as the light turns, the bicyclist catches up to traffic and is now blocking the turn into McDonald’s.
11:20 am – I make it to the squawk box and place my order. I order the two cheeseburger meal (plain) which comes with fries and Coke. I order efficiently hitting all the points that eliminate any follow up questions. They tell me to pull ahead to the first window. Tick tock, tick tock.
11:21 am – I hand over the cash at the next window. Total was $6.47. McDonald’s isn’t as cheap as it used to be anymore. When did that happen? It is an efficient cash transaction though. She hands me my change and I proceed to the pick up window.
11:23 am – I wait anxiously for my order and I peek inside and see the employees putting it together. The lady working the drive -thru is waiting for something. Did my order of plain cheeseburgers stop the line? Are they waiting for the ding on the fries to go off? She starts talking to another worker. Inside, I am raging. “Just get me my damn food! HURRY!” On the outside, I appear calm and cool. My food finally comes. I screech tires out of there only to get stopped at the light exiting the parking lot.
11:24 am – While at the light, I plop the straw in the soda after I take the paper covering off. Straws used to be easier to unwrap. They’ve changed something so it’s not easy anymore, so I am pushing it down to try to ease the wrapper off and I end up bruising the end of the straw. It still works. I reach in the bag and pull out cheeseburger one and chomp in. The light changes.
11:26 am – First burger down. I dig into the fries, but just a little. Not feeling like scarfing down hot fries right now. I can see my work on the horizon.
11:29 am – Get stuck at three lights on the way. Finally turn in to parking lot. Finish last bite of second burger. I feel full and uncomfortable.
11:31 am – I punch in. I made it, sort of. Phew.
So that was my McDonald’s celebration and I feel it was pretty appropriate. The rush to get there, the anxiety to get it done fast and then eating it faster than anyone should eat anything. That’s what McDonald’s is to me. Don’t get me wrong, I still appreciate it for all that it is and sometimes nothing tastes better than that hot cheeseburger with super salty fries. But it’s never your first choice. You kind of settle on it. That’s ok though. It’s not an altogether bad fall back plan. And it sure beats making an entire glazed ham.
Next Up: Easter and National Eggs Benedict Day