Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Reviews of Everyday Life: Lunch at McDonald's

Last year the McDonald's near my house was demolished and a new one was built in its place. The new setup has turned the original layout 180 degrees. I avoided this newly resurrected McDonald's restaurant for many weeks because I simply did not want to feel the stupidity I knew I would feel while getting oriented. The drive-thru now has two order speakers like at a bank, but then the cars have to merge once again to pay and gather their orders. So I think this double order station concept is merely the illusion of even faster service and shorter lines.

Today I chose the line of the left.

The speaker at the drive-thru was very loud. The person's voice made me feel like I wanted to tell them to shut up. But the speaker was not their fault. They asked how I was doing today. This made me feel obligated to engage in small talk even though I knew it was not a genuine question. I felt strange and unsure of what to do. So I said nothing and began my order.

I ordered the Quarter Pounder with Cheese meal, Large Sized, with Coke. The person told me the total and said to pull ahead to the second window. As I pulled around, my tire scraped and then bumped over the concrete curb. I felt embarrassed. I could not remember which window the voice had told me to pay at, and I moved very slowly past the first window and waited to see someone inside. But I didn't see anyone, so I went on to the second window.

I had my payment prepared so that I would get larger coins back instead of a bunch of pennies. When the cashier handed me my change I counted and then asked if it shouldn't be six dollars instead of $5.50, and then the cashier led me through a math drill to demonstrate that I was being a typical stupid customer. I was embarrassed and apologized. She was gracious and handed the drink out and the bag of food soon followed. I drove away, checking my blind spot so I did not hit someone driving past. Overall, my purchasing experience, including the selection of my meal number, was satisfactory, despite the slight ringing deafness in my left ear due to the loudness of the order speaker.

Now that I'd successfully ordered, paid for, and retrieved my lunch, it was time to dig in. McDonald's french fries have the lifespan relative to a mayfly, lasting about ten minutes outside of the oil they're fried in before going limp and cold and amazingly tasteless. So I ate my fries while driving back to the office, maneuvering the steering wheel with a combination of elbow, knee, and different fingers. Thus, my fries were excellent: still hot, rigid, and salty.

I like the Coke served at McDonald's. They have the ratio of syrup to carbonated water spot-on. And taking a drink halfway through an order of fries sends a tingly caffiene/sugar rush into the special place in the brain. Nothing like it.

I saved my Quarter Pounder with Cheese until I returned to the office. Almost immediately I remembered that I'd forgotten to order it without onions. In a matter of minutes the entire office reeked with the sweaty smell of onions. After picking them off, I put the bun back and closed the box in hope of minimizing the smell.

Aroma is an important part of a meal. I held the burger to my nose and sniffed. The burger smelled vaguely like end-of-the-day genitals or armpits, as vague as something like that can smell. And so I learned that aroma is not necessarily an important part of an extra value meal from McDonald's.

Yes, of course I still ate it. The smell of genitals never kept me from putting my mouth on anything before. Plus, I'd paid for it. When not consciously smelling the burger at close range, and simply tasting the amalgamation of flavors, it was a passable meal.

Random thoughts:

The word "meal" irritates me when talking about a combination of main and side dishes, but, strangely, not when talking about ground corn or flour used to make tortillas. I do not understand this about myself.

Yes, I have watched Super Size Me and was nauseated and disgusted and moved, but I still eat fast food, including McDonald's, though I'm diversifying more these days.

The phrase "extra value" also irritates me, especially in conjunction with the word "meal."

I was shitting less than a half hour after finishing my extra value meal.

Fast food may make people fat and stupid as well. But I suspect that these conditions are present before fast food is introduced into the equation, or even if it is not part of the equation at all.

There is a sense in generalized society that being fat is very closely linked with being stupid, and vice versa. I disagree with this.

There is not, however, a sense in generalized society that being thin is very closely linked with being arrogant and mean.

People who feel angry that hamburgers are why many cattle are killed each day should feel a little better about McDonald's hamburgers because it seems unlikely that they contain any actual meat.

I think I'm going to research becoming a vegetarian.

4 comments:

BLAKE BUTLER said...

reviews of everyday life is a great idea.

i still eat mcdonald's now and then too, even post-supersize me.

those nuggets are fuckin yummy.

Bradley Sands said...

I like McDonald's a lot when I'm eating it, but the aftertaste is really gross and it lingers for the rest of the day. So I don't really eat it.

Josh Maday said...

Thanks, Blake. I'll probably keep doing these reviews of everyday life. See what happens.

Bradley, yes, the aftertaste is not pleasant. Similar to that genital smell, only as a filmy aftertaste that cannot be scrubbed from the back of your tongue. And I'm hungry again an hour later. No good.

Over the past year I have eaten at McDonald's only a handful of times. I just don't choose it much anymore. To me, the food is linked with the idea/feeling of plastic or waxy in my mind. I just saw that McDonald's stock is way down lately, too. I thought the fast food joints would be raking it in with the slower economy and people cutting back and going cheaper, i.e. going fast food instead of to a sit-down place.

julie said...

Poznan, Poland has the swankiest Mcdonald's I've ever been in. You can have a beer if you need something strong to wash all that grease down. I haven't eaten meat for 17 years, but every once in a while I stop by for a Filet-O-Fish and fries. Tastes good, but then i feel sick for hours afterwards.