Some days are easier than others. Some days, I go with the flow, carried along by the sweeping current of my life, content to live and let live. Other days, I am filled with hostility, feeling rage toward the other inhabitants of my personal sphere. Some days I am simply (cue the dramatic music…) HORMONAL!!
My descent into rage started out simply enough, with me driving down the road, going to pick up my mother in law to take her to the doctor. A car with a handicap tag pulled in front of me and proceeded to drive 38 miles under the speed limit. We came to a light and stopped. The driver began applying make-up. The light turned green, but she was busy adding another coat of shellac. I honked the horn, feeling my corneas start to heat up, and she began rolling forward at the speed of a comatose snail. I felt rage.
But I simply swerved around her and continued on my way. I could have rammed her car repeatedly, causing the mascara wand to jam itself in her eye and lodge in her questionable gray matter. But then she would have become a drain on society and I am too thoughtful to inflict that on my fellow Americans. So I went around her.
I picked up my mother in law with no further incidents and drove her to the doctor. I let her out at the door and then began a ten minute odyssey around the parking lot, looking for a space. I felt like the pilot of a jumbo jet, circling the runway, waiting for clearance from the tower. I eyed the senior citizens on walkers with no mercy. In the parking lot, Darwin rules and only the strongest will park. I finally jammed my fat Suburban ass into a parking space designed for a Toyota Camry. With plenty of room to spare on both sides. I know how to park my gas guzzling, environmentally damaging SUV thank you very much.
We spent two hours at the doctor’s office. Two hours of my life drifted away, like sands in the hourglass, while I read a two month old copy of Entertainment Weekly and played video games on my cell phone. Two hours which could have been spent productively playing Pogo were wasted. Although I am glad I was able to take her to the doctor, since she really was very sick.
I drove my mother in law home and got her settled. Then I went to get my 12 yo daughter, who had spent the night out with a friend who conveniently lives on the other side of town. I drove down the ramp onto the interstate and started to merge into traffic. The semi that had been moving over to make room for me decided to suddenly swerve back into my lane, nearly clipping my back bumper. I had visions of my Suburban flipping end over end across the interstate with me cursing the truck driver in the foulest language available with my last breaths. I see it as a cartoon, with my wispy soul departing my mangled body and heading skyward, my lips still forming the words “F*** YOU!!!!” Fortunately, he missed me, but it only amped up my rage.
I drove over to get my daughter who was unhappy to see me and not afraid to let me know it. We drove in stony silence, me contemplating my empty belly. I had eaten a very small bowl of Fruity Pebbles much earlier in the day and I had not eaten since then. So we made a detour through Arby’s.
I like Arby’s. I can think outside the bun or whatever they say on that stupid commercial. And what is better, more pure, than an Arby’s roast beef sandwich? So I pulled up to the drive thru speaker and a cheerful female voice immediately chirped “Welcome to Arby’s May I Take Your Order?” She had no sooner gotten out the last syllable when a very impatient male voice said “please wait a moment”.
I was confused, as anyone would be. Should I order or not? Which voice should I listen to? Was I becoming schizophrenic? I waited a few minutes and then I timidly said “Hello??”
“Ma’am, I asked you to Wait Just a Minute,” the impatient male voice barked.
Whoa!! The Arby’s man was copping an attitude with me!! All the frustrations of the day began to boil and churn inside of me and I stared at the ordering machine thingy with growing hostility. I guess I should have driven away, but I was damned if Arby’s man would get the best of me.
A few minutes passed and he came back and said “May I take your order?”
Yes, all the way to HELL, I thought to myself, but I was calm and ordered two roast beef sandwiches and two drinks.
“That will be $11, please drive to the window,” he said.
To say I was shocked is an understatement. I could have gotten a steak for that price. I decided I had misheard him, so I drove up to the window.
The little doors opened and he said “that will be eleven dollars and forty cents.”
So I did mishear him!!! It was even more than I thought!!!
I looked at him skeptically and said “for two sandwiches and two drinks?”
He ripped the receipt off sharply and handed it to me. “Two Arbys roast beef at $3.89 each and two drinks at $1.49.” He gave me a smug look that I positively wanted to slap off of his face. Jackass.
He handed me my drinks, which were NOT in official Arby’s cups. They were so SMALL!! “These are mediums???” I asked, but he did not answer. He handed my the bag with our million dollar sandwiches and intoned “thank you for coming to Arby’s hope you enjoy your food come back and see us again.” Like HELL I will!!!
On the drive thru window was a small sticker with an 800 number and an invitation to call with compliments or concerns. On a normal day, I would have ignored the sticker. On a normal day, I would have turned up the radio and driven away. But this was not a normal day. I had already dealt with the handicapped mascara applier. I had already circled a parking lot like a great white barracuda, menacing senior citizens for a parking spot. I had very nearly been launched into orbit by an 18 wheeler. To let Arby’s Man win was more than I could bear.
My hand moved of its own accord, dialing the number before I could even think it through. Trembling with rage, sipping my lemonade from my tiny cup, I waited for the beep so I could leave my comment. As soon as the recorded spiel ended, I began my comment: “Um, I just ordered from the drive through at store number 2790 and well, the service was the worst I’ve ever had and, well, um, that man was so mean and the sandwiches were really expensive too. Just thought you might want to know.”
As I hung up, I really did feel better. After all, the alternative to the call would have been to go on a homicidal rampage in the Arby’s and I was not really dressed for it. Trust me, my friends would have ripped me to shreds when they saw me on CNN. “I can’t BEE-lieve she wore that outfit on a homicidal rampage,” they would say among themselves. “And poor thing, look how bloated she is. Arby’s man should have known better. Bless her heart!!”
I have to go now and pick up my mother in law’s prescription. I hope the people at Wal-Greens’s are prepared!