While recently waiting, interminably it turned out, to order and pick-up my fast food bounty, it occurred to me that, perhaps, we’re slowly losing our ability to function within the construct we call modern life. Nowhere is that more evident than in what is supposed to be a quick transaction (I mean they call it fast food for a reason).
Now the natural reaction these days is to become irate and question the veracity and sanity of the person or persons at the squackbox taking forever and a day to order. I mean, seriously, how long does it take to order a cheeseburger? I mean it’s a burger joint! (I’ll admit some of this is a rose colored view of the glory days of drive-thrus when it was in and out.)
There is, however, another tack to take: one of reasoned detachment. And while the initial impulse to shout out an obscenity or a quip from The Simpsons (“Come on, I got a body in the trunk!”) might provide a moment of instant gratification, it might be more appropriate, even advantageous, to look at the situation from more nuanced angles.
For example, maybe the person or persons are so starved for some form of communication with an actual live person that they feel the need to extend the moment. Seems perfectly reasonable. Maybe they’ve been sequestered for so long that they don’t know what on the menu, or haven’t had the opportunity to really consider whether all the options are right for them. Again perfectly natural. Maybe they’ve no idea where they are? It’s possible.
For the people stuck behind them, not so much.
To them I say: use the time productively. (This is also an opportunity to pass a quip or obscenity my way.) After swearing, either at the people in front of you or at me, take a deep cleansing breath. You know this will be a feature of drive-thrus for the foreseeable future. And while swearing and getting that blood pressure reading so high it blows up your phone, not to mention your heart, has its place, I think it better to use the time to get stuff done. Have you put off answering those emails from colleagues you consider to be brain dead? Now’s there’s time. Enjoy drifting off into a rich fantasy life? Plenty of time now. Writing the great American novel? Here’s a stretch of time to edit, rewrite, or rethink the entire project. Maybe a giant bug going to kindergarten undercover to expose a secret plot by men from beyond the moon to take over the earth isn’t really something you can pull off.
And before you know it, it’ll be your turn to take forever to order.
©2021 David William Pearce