So the other day, I was driving home after long day of work, and I was feeling pretty good about myself.
As I pulled into a busy drive-thru restaurant to get some quick food and frozen treats, I thought about how I would likely be treated as a hero when I arrived home. The restaurant had a long line, but I didn’t mind that I would have to wait.
“Everybody probably heard I am going here so now they are all going here, too,” I said out loud in the car even though no one was there.
“Too bad my wife missed hearing that one,” I continued talking to myself. “She sure is one lucky woman.”
This conversation continued for a few minutes until I turned on the radio and found some good sports talk. It was cold and rainy outside, but I had a delightful time in my warm car while the radio hosts discussed basketball, football and soccer.
“It sure is nice of me to wait in this long line. I will have to order some extra special items here to make everyone happy. They sure are lucky,” I continued. The radio hosts didn’t disagree with me, so I went on for a while discussing potential blog topics, jokes I found to be extremely funny and the pros and cons of pickles.
Finally, it was my turn, and I pulled up to the drive-thru window and rolled down my car window.
“Can I help you?” the woman in the window said as she leaned out to speak to me.
At that moment, I realized that I hadn’t ordered anything, and suddenly my brain froze up like a strawberry malt. I didn’t say a word for a minute while I my conversation turned inward.
“Wait a minute. What was I supposed to do here? This is just a local restaurant, do they even have a drive-thru speaker? Think Nick, think!”
I looked behind me and I could not tell for sure if I was supposed to order earlier or not. It looked like there was a menu board there, but did it have a microphone in it to place orders? I honestly could not remember. Everything was happening in slow motion, and I finally noticed that the woman in the window was staring at me waiting for an answer.
“Was I supposed to order back there?” I said stupidly while pointing directly at the drive-thru order sign.
“Uh, yeah,” she said.
“Oh, I wasn’t sure if you placed orders there or not,” I said even more stupidly.
“Yep,” she said. “That’s usually how it works.”
“Oh,” I said, not really sure what I should do next.
At that moment I realized that I had probably been through that drive-thru at least 300 times and had always ordered at the sign. I had no idea why I had forgotten to do so this time, but I knew I was holding up the line.
Should I leave? I could drive off and never return to the restaurant again. I thought better of it and tried to act cool. After all, my family needed dinner.
“Oh, sorry, I forgot to order,” I said as the woman just stared at me. “Should I come in and order, would that be easier?”
“No, you can just order here. Do you know what you want?” she said.
What did I want? Wow, I hadn’t really thought about that question. I just knew I wanted to order my family the perfect food. My mind raced once again.
“What do they have here to eat? What does my wife like for food? Who is still living at home anyway? Could I ask to see a menu? Probably not. Why was I thinking about pickles a few minutes earlier? Think, Nick, think!”
Finally, my brain cleared up a little and I managed to meekly get out the words “chicken strip baskets.” It seemed like a safe choice, and was about all that I could remember.
The woman then made it more difficult by asking if I wanted any drinks. I couldn’t think of any, so I said no and she very nicely told me how much I owed. I quickly paid and she told me that I could pull forward and wait.
That’s when I remembered I had forgotten to order any ice cream, but I knew it was too late to even consider trying to order any.
So, I meekly pulled forward, waited once again in my warm car and tried to understand what had just happened.
“They need to make that menu board right next to the drive thru lane more visible!” I said to myself and the sports talk hosts who had returned to my radio. “I bet this happens to people all of the time.”
Finally, my food arrived, and I slowly drove home while also slowly understanding how ridiculous this whole situation was. And when I got home, everyone was happy with the food I had delivered and we had a nice evening.
And while we enjoyed our food in our warm house, I thought about how nice the drive-thru employee was when I acting stupid, and I reflected on how the whole situation was a perfect reminder that I shouldn’t get too full of myself. Finally, I thought about what nice little evening I was having and how everyone seemed to enjoy the food that I had delivered, even without drinks or ice cream. I sure am lucky.