My grandmother used to tell me that patience is a virtue. Unfortunately, I never listened to my grandmother and I've grown into one of the most impatient people on the planet.
But after years and years of getting testy while waiting in lines, or waiting for people to write their stories or just waiting in general, I decided to work on my patience. And things were going well until I visited a local fast food restaurant.
I know my first mistake was actually going to a fast food restaurant, something I try not to do all together. Unfortunately, I sometimes work early into the morning and go many hours between lunch and my midnight snack.
Such is what happened the other night when I left work after midnight. I was ready to go home and try to get some sleep when Mr. Stomach informed me that I hadn't eaten in over 12 hours. Well, after midnight my choices were definitely limited so it basically was get some fast food or spend 30 minutes cooking myself something when I got home, waking my wife in the process. Since waking my wife is like waking a angry bear in the middle of hibernation, I decided to go the fast food route.
I knew I was going to have problems when I arrived at the restaurant and saw 10 cars in line. An intelligent person might have left and gone home but at this point waking an angry bear just to calm Mr. Stomach wasn't an option. Besides, I was at a fast food restaurant, how long could it take?
To help answer that I can tell you that it took five minutes just to get to the ordering box. At this point my patience was starting to wear thin. Normally I would have pulled away, given a dirty look to the 12-year-olds working the window and driven home, but that would have been impatient.
So when I finally get ready to give my order a voice comes over the speaker and says, "Wait a minute before you order." No "please," no "I'm sorry," just a direct order like I was in the army. But I sat patiently, waiting to give this bossy girl my order. Finally, after sitting for five minutes, she says "Can I take your order?"
After giving my order with as little attitude as possible, I finally was ready to move forward, only there was still a big line so again I waited. And when I was done waiting I waited some more. Evidently fast food means that the food is cooked fast, not that you get your food quickly.
About 10 minutes later I still haven't even made it to the window to pay for the food, let alone get my food. An impatient person would have been upset. Not me though. Nope. I was so mad my face was redder than a Cardinal baseball cap and I was starting to talk myself into leaving and facing the angry bear. But then I heard my grandmother's voice say "patience is a virtue," and I calmed down.
Just about that time I pulled to the window and a girl that looked about 12 and acted like I was ruining her life said "$4.51." So I gave the girl a ten dollar bill and a penny. She looked at the money and then looked back at me like she was in the middle of a "Twilight Zone" episode. She said "sir, it's $4.51." Apparently somebody was left behind in our "No Child Left Behind" era we are currently in.
I finally explained to Miss Fast Food that I wanted $5.50 back in change, but I did it with as little attitude as possible. After all, no need to give them a reason to spit in my food. Of course, she acted like I was the idiot and after a deep sigh gave me my change. Then she had the nerve to ask me to pull forward because she had to make some fries.
Now I was upset. I had ordered my fries nearly 15 minutes earlier so they knew what I wanted. It shouldn't have came as a surprise to them but they still didn't have any ready. Of course, I couldn't leave at this point because I had already paid for my food and I couldn't get too upset because then they would do who-knows-what to my fries and burger.
So there I was waiting again, my blood pressure near stroke level. At this point I wasn't even hungry anymore I just wanted my food so I could go home.
Finally, 23 minutes after I arrived, Miss Fast Food brought me my food and literally threw it in my car. There was no "Sorry for the wait," or "Thank you, come again." As a matter of fact she didn't say anything. Of course I made a snippy remark, something to the effect of "You'd better not have spit in my food," but it was ignored.
Five minutes later when I got home, I opened the bag and realized that Miss Fast Food had given me the wrong burger. It was then I heard my grandfather's voice say "Don't you remember me telling you never to eat fast food." I really should start listening to that voice.