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Thursday, April 28, 2011

out of my comfort zone

Some people go to Africa to get a taste of exotica.

I go to McDonald's!

For the first time in my life I walked into McDonald's on my own and ordered... Actually I didn't know what to order or how to order it. I looked at the menu on the wall and got totally lost. I didn't understand the names of the things or the numbers next to them. Is 6.29 the price of something? I've never seen anything that costs $6.29. What kind of price is that? I know 15.99 or 3.99, but 6.29? I thought maybe it was a code or the number of calories. But why decimals? It just didn't make sense.

So the guy asked me what I wanted to order and I said that I wanted (please forgive me...) chicken nuggets. It was the only thing I knew how to order at McDonald's. When I was pregnant with my daughter we once stopped at a drive thru and got me chicken nuggets. That was the last time I was near a McDonald's. Today she is almost 15. Oh, and I wasn't the one who ordered it. It was her American dad who drove thru, ordered and paid. So I never learned how to do it.

The guy looked me questioningly. I asked how I was supposed to order it. He said I can have a 6-piece, 10-piece or 20-piece order. I said 6 pieces and a coke.

Then I told him I have never ordered anything at McDonald's so I needed a little help. He asked me if I was from around here. Yup, for the last 20 years, I nearly said. But I decided not to say anything and just nodded. When he asked me what kind of sauce, I wanted to kick myself as I heard my own voice uttering "what do you have?"

I sat there and read my book "Songs of blood and sword," a memoir written by Fatima Bhutto, the niece of Benazir Bhutto; not your typical read at a McDonald's I suspect, but there was no other place I could kill an hour while my car was being serviced.

Only after sitting there for half an hour did I realize that I should have ordered fries. That's what people eat at McDonald's. Fries and a big Mac. But at the moment of truth, I forgot and missed my only chance.

When I told my daughter later that evening that I went to McDonald's her immediate reaction was "you're a bad person, Ima."

But I didn't feel that bad. While I was sitting there I saw a sign on the wall declaring that Monterey-Salinas McDonald's offer their employees' health insurance.

I think I'll take my daughter for some fries and ice cream at McDonald's to see that sign. Maybe she will change her mind about me.

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