Drive-thru Window ‘Mush Mind’

August 1, 2011 | By More

If your summers are anything like mine used to be then you are in one of two categories: one – you remember driving children all over the country; two – you still are driving children to various camps, practices, classes, tournaments, vacation Bible schools, and play dates. And, you are trying to pencil in a family vacation between all the children’s activities. Good luck with that.

In the mad rush of getting children to all their stuff – hopefully on time – we are supposed to find time to feed them. Any restaurant with a drive-thru window could quickly become our best friend.

We would picked Adrin up from tennis lessons on our way to drop off Dillon at baseball practice, only to drive all the way back across town to get Payton to t-ball practice. We would hurriedly drive through, toss the food in the direction of the children and basically ask them to inhale it. Then we would tell them to get out of the car quickly so we could get to the next destination on time. Someone please tell me I am not alone in remembering how crazy it could be at times?

My three boys are all grown up now; the youngest is 20 years old. An incident the other day took me right back to those summers not too long ago. It involved my husband and a fast food drive-thru.

As we drove up to a local restaurant, my husband asked me what I wanted. I told him my order. We proceeded to the window and, upon the woman asking us if she could take our order, he looks over at me as if all the information had just left his brain. I said, “Do you want me to order?” He says, “Yes.”

So from the passenger’s seat I lean over and place my order. So many summer drive-through memories came flooding back.

I believe I have discovered an issue that needs to be studied and I will volunteer my husband as their first case subject. I am serious – kind of – about this. Some university should take the time to write a grant seeking money to study the effects of fast food drive-thru ordering on adult men.

Now, I am sure, if the man was all alone the drive-thru would be no big deal. But, put a wife, or even worse, a wife and three kids in the car, and somehow it becomes a challenge right up there with climbing Mt. Everest! Once again ladies, I am counting on you to let me know I am not alone in this revelation.

Here is how it would play out every summer as we spent lots of time getting our food at the drive- thru window:

A very competent, mature adult man who deals with complicated and varied information daily could not manage to place an order for his family at the drive-thru window without – how do I say this – turning into mush. You could see him transform right before your eyes as soon as he heard that voice asking for his order.

Somehow that 17-year-old, who could really care less what we ordered, made my husband all tongued tied.

Now in Donald’s defense he likes clarity and precision and he was not going to get that with the crew in his mini-van. Yet, he would try and try again to place a very exact, concise order with no breaks in his flow of communication or concentration, only to fail time and time again.

Donald would forget to say something like, “ketchup only” on our middle son’s hamburger – even thought that is the only way he would ever eat a hamburger. I would interject the missing info, throwing off Donald’s recall and shutting down his brain. Apparently, this would happen if we made any noise at all.

I would often ask him to tell the person on the other side of that box, “to hold on a second” while we figured things out, but that just didn’t sit right with Donald. It was as if he thought they were going to judge him for not knowing how to place an order.

I would often wonder if he was afraid they were going to say, “Times up. No order for you” or “What is wrong with you? Have you never placed an order before?” or “Buddy, you are taking too long. Go to the end of the line and start over.”

And this is how it would end every time. It didn’t matter where I was sitting in the mini-van, I would make my way to the driver’s side window and start from the beginning. There were times this required me to climb over seats, baseball bags, beach toys — but to the rescue I would come.

So, as I leaned across him the other day to place my order, I remembered all those summer days and nights with our three precious boys.

The rush of those summers is gone but the “mush brain” of my husband talking to the stranger in the box lives on. My very good- natured husband, who allows me to poke fun at him with the whole world watching, did want to say a word in his own defense. Donald said, “If you would just write it down for me and then NOT change your mind, I wouldn’t have any problems.” My response: Funny, I don’t have to write it down, and everyone can make changes, and I still get it right.

Like I said, someone really needs to study this!

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Category: Every Day Life

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