Friday, March 19, 2010

Out With The Old, In With The Cholesterol

My car gets messy. It happens with kids, I understand that. Don’t judge me, I know yours gets messy too.

I find myself cleaning the car out most often at Drive-Thrus. Notice the spelling: thru, not through. Also, despite ending in a u, I’ve added only an -s, not an -es. This goes against years of education, but I do it anyway. My inner grammar gremlin (what, you don’t have one?) is screaming at me to just make it through. However, that is what they are called. Look at the sign directing you to the little box where you talk to a voice that sounds like it’s yelling at you in another language. Not knowing what’s being said to you, you shout your food order back at the box and hope what you pick up at the window is close to your order. I’m reminded of a rat figuring out which button to push to make the cheese fall from the hole in the wall. This is what I do and I get food. I don’t know why, but it works. Anyway, the sign says, “Drive-Thru.” It’s a cultural phenomenon and I will respect its power over us despite it flying in the face of hundred of years of grammar and punctuation rules.

Where was I? Oh, yes. The reason I clean out my car at the “Drive-Thru” is convenience. They have these garbage cans with an extension on them that creates a mini garbage chute. This makes it easy to reach out your car window and drop your trash into the can. I’m sure you’ve seen these things. Have you ever seen one full? The junk builds up like a traffic jam with the entire extended chute full of ketchup-streaked burger wrappers and the occasional full diaper. The diaper, no doubt, is filled with “fully processed” fast food that, due to grease content, slid through the baby’s digestive system just a little faster than usual.

When you pull up on one of these so full it looks like it’s about to pop, you don’t keep your garbage and save it until you see another garbage located somewhere you can park and walk out to and make your deposit. No, you try and just jam what you need to get rid of between the existing garbage and the wall of the chute without touching everyone else’s waste. If you have something to throw out that is sturdy enough, you may even try to use it like a plunger and push all the garbage further in like you’re loading a musket.

The reason I brought this up is because I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. Most often, when I am at a fast food Drive-Thru, the trash I’m expelling from my window is leftover rubbish from our previous fast food meal. Am I really eating that much fast food? Am I really feeding it to my kids that often?

Thinking about this, I imagine the fast food restaurants being like a scumbag date trying to get me drunk. They “freshen up” our drinks under the guise of being helpful and attentive while the priority is really just to get us to consume as much as possible.

I’m not alone here, either. Other people use these garbage cans all the time. And what are they throwing out? Old garbage they had bought from the same restaurant a day or two earlier at most. I mentioned earlier the garbage billowing out of the mini-chute. Every time I’ve seen this, it’s fast food wrappers. I’ve seen countless vehicles in front of me, with chubby arms reaching out their windows to toss yesterday’s greasy burger sack into the can while they pull their car into line to purchase more.

Of course, I could be wrong. These places sell salads too, you know. Maybe I’m being pessimistic or jaded. Perhaps my confidence in Americans’ will power and health conscious eating habits sell us all short. I think I’d be more content to think that I’m a slob who rarely cleans out his car. Thus, when I enter the Drive-Thru line, the garbage from my last visit is about a month old. That must be it.

And to think I was all worked up and disappointed in myself. All this thinking and worrying has made me hungry. I need a cheeseburger.

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