austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

You're laughing too down there inside

One of the themes of yoga class is to always listen to your body. As I listened to my --- on average, shrinking --- body today, it was saying clearly that I needed a Big Mac. I mentioned this to my mother, who was amused, and my father, who several times asked, ``Big Mac?'' as if he'd not quite heard of them before. Still, with by body-mass index touching an integer to within the limits of the WiiFit's precision (two digits past the decimal and, frankly, quite some variability from one test to the next), I thought it not a bad idea.

I went to the McDonald's near Great Adventure, because they have a better array of sauces to dip fries in than do others (including barbeque and sweet-and-sour sauce). They had torn out a corner of the counter and replaced it with a McCafe, which wasn't quite fully opened --- part of what had been seats where I'd devoured one of John W Campbell's many preposterous novels in one sitting was now a just-installed, not-quite-finished counter --- although up front a huge McCafe sign was hung over a wall sign for the Jungle Safari, so it appeared to promise a McCafe Jungle Safari. McCafes coming to the United States would be a fresh touch in common with Singapore if I'd ever gone to a McCafe in Singapore; I'm just not a coffee person.

Among the odd little human vignettes going on around me was someone from Great Adventure, dressed in bright green short-sleeved T-shirt and wearing three kinds of badges proclaiming his corporate affiliation wandering back and forth, from one of the seating areas to the soda machines and back again. A few seats nearer the bathroom from me three people were looking over many plastic-wrapped cases of what looked like compact disc albums, but each envelope was filled with patches, of the sorts Boy, Girl, or Cub Scouts might acquire. One person, hoarding the main book to himself, was describing each of the patches in turn to an audience paying attention as much as I was not.

And at the counter was a growing scene between a person who said he did not get one of a pair of cheeseburgers ordered in the drive-through lane and the manager who, smiling just enough to not seem sarcastic, pointed out reasons that he was not going to give the patron a cheeseburger. As the entire staff slowly stopped what they were doing and gathered in an arc to the McCafe and drive-through side of the store, the manager noted that the patron had no receipt, had no bag, had not been seen by anyone when the drive-through order was supposed to have been placed, was arriving in a different car from what had supposedly gone through the drive-through, was not the same patron who had reportedly placed the order, and according to the register receipts for the past few hours there had been no double-cheeseburger orders rung up at all. The patron insisted that this was customer-unfriendly service on the manager's part, and that the manger's stubbornness was slowing everybody up. This everybody included me, as my body was telling me now that I also needed a pair of apple McPies.

The patron eventually said, fine, and he ordered a single cheeseburger for which he slammed a small pile of change on the plexiglass barrier which goes over the counter and over the cash registers to make the McDonald's needlessly unpleasant for short people. Told it would be $1.29 he began taking nickels and pennies way from the pile. As he was put to the side I got my McApples pies and he began asking whether he could get a second cheeseburger along with the one he was paying for, as a way of making good on the restaurant's error. The manager stubbornly clung to his refusal. After the aggrieved patron left the manager mentioned to the staff that someone should call the adjacent Burger King and warn them.

I feel like I was placed in the midst of an elaborate and whimsical comedy for my benefit, but I couldn't think of a polite time to appropriately laugh.

Trivia: By 1883 the Orient Express was able to serve a full Parisian restaurant meal, with the same formal dress code. Source: Time Lord: Sir Sandford Fleming and the Creation of Standard Time, Clark Blaise.

Currently Reading: Civilisation, Kenneth Clark.

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