It’s midnight and I’m in the drive thru lane of a Burger King. I just came back from picking up Buster from his “doggy mama” and I’m famished.
“Hello and welcome to Burger King,” a staticy voice says though the drive thru intercom. “What would you like to order?”
“I’d like a cheeseburger, small fries and a Diet Coke, please.”
The worker repeats my order. “Can you do me one favor?” I ask.
“Can you make sure the fries are hot?”
“No problem, sir.” I hate cold fries.
When I drive up to the takeout window Buster goes berserk. He knows what Burger King looks like and he’s knows he’s going to get some of my French fries. Buster loves French fries. They’re not good for him but then again they’re not good for me either. But what dining choices are available when you have a dog with you at midnight?
Buster whinnies and barks. If I let him he’d jump out of the car, leap though the drive thru window and devour everything in Burger King’s kitchen. Luckily he’s only weighs twelve pounds so I manage to control him.
The worker comes to the window. He looks tired but good-natured. “I put in an extra hamburger for your dog,” he says with a smile.
“Thank you,” I say, touched by the man’s kindness. He must be a dog lover.
“Have a nice night, sir.”
I decide not to eat in the car and start to drive home. But as I head towards the exit a man driving a Cadillac Escalade blocks my way. We’re at a standoff. I can’t move. He can’t move. I also notice he’s talking on his cell phone.
Annoyed I roll down my window. “Hey buddy,” I say. “You’re coming in the exit. Move back a bit.”
The man just stares at me blank faced.
“You’re coming in the wrong way,” I say. No response. This guy must be drunk, tired, stoned or a combination of all three. Maybe he’s getting bad news on his cell phone. Maybe the love of his life cast him on the dust heap of broken hearts. Whatever it is, I don’t give a shit. I don’t move.
So the man starts starts inching his large truck past me. He’s going to tear up my car. He looks like he doesn’t care.
“And you’re talking on a cell phone while driving,” I say loudly. “Asshole.”
The man stops his car. We’re eyeball to eyeball and he still has the same blank look on his face.
“What the fuck is your problem?” I say.
The man just stares at me some more. I can hear a woman’s voice over his cell phone. Maybe I was right about the dust heap thing.
On the night I broke up with my last girlfriend I accidentally bumped into a young man while walking back to my car. Despite my apology the young man wanted to make something of it. “Wrong guy, wrong day,” I said. The young man must have heard the something in my voice and he immediately backed off. I can only wonder what I looked like. Maybe I had the same blank expression on my face. An expression that said, “I don’t care.”
I put my car in reverse and give the Escalade the right of way. The man guns his engine and heads into the drive thru to get something to eat. Wrong guy, wrong day. I sensed it too. I felt sorry for him then. Just another guy having a tough time and I probably made it worse.
I go home but Buster needs to pee so I take him for a walk, leaving my bag of food cooling in the night air. When I get into the house my fries are cold. And I can’t use the microwave because, like thousands of other people, I have no power.
I eat my cold meal by candlelight. Buster eats the burger I chopped up into small pieces. He doesn’t care if the meat’s cold or the lights are off. He’s just a dog and he’s happy. If only life could be so simple.