Damn, it’s all happenin’ at The All Night McDonald’s. I usually come up here around 4 a.m., after my gig, to use the free wi-fi but, since I had no work this evenin’, I was able to show up a bit earlier.
I pulled into the almost full parkin’ lot and the place was packed. At least 25 waitin’ to order and just that many waitin’ for their food. The average age I’d say was 19 and from where I stood (right behind a skinny teenaged dude in flannel shirt, blue jeans and boots who thought the trouble he was havin’ standin’ was the funniest thing) it seemed like they were all polluted. Some were singin’ country songs, some were dancin’, a few were laughin’ at other drunken kids for bein’ drunk and, me, I was invisible.
After waitin’ 10 minutes for the one and only behind the counter order taker to take my order, a group of 5 staggered in and the little guy (5′ 4″ weighin’ in at 120lbs) asked another little guy, “Have you been helped?”
And, when the young man waitin’ said, “Yes, I have,” the Group of Five cut in front of me and were helped immediately.
I was gonna say somethin’ but…why? They were young and drunk, it was a mistake of their “no old folks here to ruin my buzz” perception, and it wasn’t personal. But they might’ve took it personal if I insisted on my “I was here first” rights. They might’ve been ready to fight over a place in front of the line. I was too tired for a turf war so I went back to my laptop. I had plenty to do online.
An hour later, I tried again w/ some success. I say some coz the order taker was new, nervous and had a hard time understandin’ me. I was patient coz I figured it was his first or second night on the job and he had been workin’ the so-called trial by fire shift. I didn’t want to add to the tension of this newby but I did want to order what I always order, “A premium grilled chicken wrap, no meal and a small black coffee.”
“Do you want the meal?” His first question.
“You said crispy chicken?”
“I can’t put a black coffee on the same ticket.”
“What d’ya mean? This is what I always get.”
He called the manager over and the manager said, “You can do it if you click ‘coffee.'”
The manager clicked ‘coffee’ and my order was complete.
“That will be 5 dollars and 29 cents.”
I gave him a 10 spot, a quarter and a nickel. He handed back the nickel and said, “I only need 4 pennies to make it 29 cents.”
I took back the quarter and told him, “Take it all out of the 10.”
He gave me my change and I waited. And I waited. And I waited. Finally, I stood from my table and walked to the counter. The order taker was sweepin’ the floor but the manager saw me and hollered, “Where’s the wrap?” Some one in the back mumbled somethin’ and the manager said to me, “It’ll be up in just a moment, sir.”
“Could I have my coffee now?”
A cup of coffee in my hand I went back to my table. The manager brought my wrap to me. The chicken was crispy…I was gonna take it back but I was hungry and tired of waitin’ so I opened its cardboard package and I started eatin’. The first bight was good, real good and the hot coffee was just the thing with which to wash it all down. It was worth the wait.
Half way through my wrap, another group of teenagers arrived. It was just 4 of them but they were drunk, high and loud. A pretty girl in shorts and yellow windbreaker came to my table and sat in the seat across from me. She offered her hand and said her name was Christina. I took her hand and said, “Pleased to meet ya.”
Her friend, another girl taller and heavier than Christina, stomped up to my table and said, “Quit botherin’ that man.”
“But he looked so sweet sittin’ here. Besides, we know each other.” Christina looked at me, nodded her head and mouthed the words, “Say yes.”
Her friend looked at me and asked, “Do you know her.”
“No,” I said. “I don’t.”
They lost interest in me and went back to the counter and flirted/harassed the order taker. Five minutes later, Christina was back at my table askin’ for my phone number.
I laughed louder that they were loud and asked, “How old are you?”
“No, I’m not givin’ you my phone number.”
By that time, Christina’s girlfriend had returned and said, “Christy, don’t go gettin’ this nice man in trouble.”
“But he’s so sweet. He reminds me of my dad.”
“Girl,” I said. “I ought to remind you of your grand dad. And,” lookin’ at Christy’s friend. “I don’t want you girls gettin’ in trouble. You ought to go home and sleep it off, roll it off, wear it off, whatever you gotta do.”
“Yes sir,” They said in almost unison. Then, Christina got up from her seat in front of me, joined her friend and they walked out into the early mornin’ with the boys who brought them.
I don’t think they were goin’ home so I wished them safe journey to, durin’ and from where ever they were headed.
A few minutes later, the manager approached and said, “I’m sorry for your wait and also for your being hassled by our most disruptive customers. Thanks for your patience and I’d like to buy your meal. Comp your wrap and coffee.”
“Thanks,” I said. “But no thanks. I know I don’t know what to expect when I come here. That’s why I come here.”
“Okay, sir,” he said. “Let me know if you change your mind.”
I thanked him and turned to my lap top. I had posting to do.