I am not in the habit of writing negative reviews and to be honest this isn’t intended to be a review. That being said, here I go…
I admit, I have occasional cravings for McDonald’s. As an adult with almost grown children my Golden Arches days should be behind me. Maybe it is the nostalgia of treating my little ones to a “naughty” treat or maybe it is the ease of knowing the menu or maybe over my lifetime McDonald’s food has become a slight addiction. Today I decided to use my free Big Mac coupon for lunch. I chose the busiest location in my town, out of convenience to my office location, just before the lunch rush or so I thought. Instead of attempting to eat the over large, slippery sandwich and drive, I opted to go into the restaurant for my quick nosh. The years of preschool teaching with food prep have ingrained in me the need to wash my hands often. As all good habits do, of mine, my brain set itself on auto pilot and headed for the public restroom, yikes! The smell permeating my senses almost chased me from the tiny room. The smell of cat urine and musty wallpaper was overwhelming. Litter scattered on the floor, an automatic sink that sprayed with the force of a firefighters hose and a soap dispenser that hung as an odd angle on the wall dripping it’s fluids on a countertop with weird crustaceans clinging to the back edges, made me question my yearning for the two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun. After finding a dispenser of soap that operated and standing to the side of the impending torrent of the faucet I dried my hands with the antiquated hand dryers and exited the un-kept area, thankfully. Choosing to trust the food quality standards of both this establishment (why?) and the chain it represents, I ordered my weight loss saboteur with my customary Dr. Pepper.
The mass of customers flowing into the restaurant at this point was, well…massive. I chose a bar height table next to the window. I settled in to enjoy my treat. The cars streamed by taking turns in the drive thru. I noticed the wall paper peeling off the wall, trash outside on the ground, dirty tables and the drink station littered with soda spills, straw wrappers, melting ice cubes again I questioned my sanity of wanting to eat at this restaurant. The crowds of moms looking harried, children being children, elderly and the occasional business type person flowed with the precision of a well oiled machine. The “crew” behind the counter moved in the same way as the patrons, food prep hands were a blur, little headset mikes tuned into the drive thru, communicating with customers they may never see. As I sat eating the always consistent hamburger, I witnessed an employee hurriedly picking up trash outside while another bussed tables a quickly as a table was vacated. I felt like the world was in fast forward around me as I enjoyed the last few bites of my Big Mac. The bustling of the crew and patrons kept the room feeling lively around it’s thoroughly used structure.
There is something to be said about the comfort of sameness in our lives. It feels good to know what is coming next. The joy you can find in everyday consistency helps to balance the chaos that always seems to emerge in our daily comings and goings. The people came and went from this consistent facet. It isn’t perfect but the consistency of the food draws us back every time.
P.S. I wasn’t brave enough to venture back into the restroom but my hope is someone did some cleaning in there too.