So This Just Happened

So, um, yeah, this is ehero_diet_cokembarrassing or sad or embarrassingly sad, but I think my emergency contact should be the drive-thru employees at my local McDonald’s. Apparently, these people really know me.

It doesn’t hurt that I’m a creature of habit. Every morning Monday thru Friday between 7:40 and 7:50 I’m at the drive-thru getting my Diet Coke. I love a McDonald’s Diet Coke like the rest of you love a Starbucks venti-grande-trenta-frappy-soy something or other.

Sure, just like you could make coffee at home, I know I could drink a canned Diet Coke (shudder), but I’m telling you there is something about the carbonation/syrup ratio and the amount of ice in the cup that makes a Mickey D’s Diet Coke the best there is.

The realization that the McDonald’s employees had become part of my posse was when I returned from being out-of-town and multiple workers expressed concern about where I had been. I was touched and then chagrined.

The denouement was when one employee, a lovely young woman who runs that drive-thru with the demeanor of a general invading foreign soil and is always a whirling dervish of multi-tasking, shared, “Since we hadn’t seen you in a while we were talking about if we should ask one of the cops that come through here to do a welfare check on you.”

Oh. My. God.

These were the thoughts swirling through my head like waves of storm churned angst. Had my life really come to this – McDonald’s employees thinking I needed a home visit from law enforcement? Do I look so old that they thought I did a slip and fall in my home and my corpse was slowly moldering away in the foyer on the world’s ickest ceramic tile that needs updating, but who has time to chisel out those monster 24 x 24 tiles of 80’s bad taste.

And back to old. How old do I look? Sure, I look pretty crappy in the morning. I’ve just dropped my daughter off at school and I admit I look rough, most days I still have pillow marks on my face. But, some part of me still thinks I can pull off the no makeup look with non-brushed hair in a ponytail. It’s the morning – I’m going back home to groom. That’s what the Diet Coke is for. It’s grooming caffeine.

And back to old again. Do I seem frail? I’m not frail. I’m going to Pilates, dang it. Do they want to see a plank? I’ll do a plank right now. Yeah, I’m going to get out of my car and do a plank which my daughter, the competitive dancer who knows a thing or two about planks, just the other day called, “surprisingly not awful.”

It took a while for me to recover from the phrase “welfare check.” But the more I thought about it I decided to be delighted that the employees notice me. Thinking back they’ve noticed when I’ve gotten my haircut (when exactly zero of my family members did) and they comment on my son being home from college whenever I add on a Diet Dr. Pepper to my morning order.

So, here’s a shout out to the drive-thru employees at McDonald’s – thanks for caring and handing me my morning Diet Coke with a smile.

8 thoughts on “So This Just Happened

  1. Maggie West says:

    I can so see this happening to me. I go to a local (not Starbucks) coffee shop every morning and if I didn’t show up for a couple of weeks I’m sure they would think something horrible happened to me.

  2. Scott B says:

    Yeah, this hits home. Had a drive thru person comment about being in a different car today. Maybe I have a problem. Unrelated, though, I was thinking about how their nice comments to notice you and be concerned about your well being caused you to run through a litany of questions in your head. . . I do exercise classes at a local facility and noticed a new lady there just starting (or at least just starting the class I’m in). She’s significantly overweight, but I very much commend her for taking the steps to be more healthy. My wife told me I should give her encouragement, which I totally would like to do. . .but I find myself wondering if she would be embarrassed that I “noticed her” or if it would somehow make her uncomfortable. Most of my classes are filled with middle aged women and I’m one of the few men that take them (I find them to be awesome, but for some reason I’m a rarity I guess) so I tend to keep to myself so as not to make the women feel like I’m invading the sanctity of their workouts. 🙂 I’m just watching for an opportunity to throw a compliment her way that would not seem like I was seeking her out (like if we run into each other putting up weights or something). I just assume it would feel good for someone to notice her efforts (just like a random comment to me the other day from a friend about noticing I’ve been working out felt good). Yeah, I’m probably over-thinking this. 🙂

  3. Carol Smith says:

    This could so be me; my neighbor who knew me well showed up with dinner and a fountain Diet Coke from McDonalds when I was recovering from surgery and couldn’t drive!

  4. Donna Aldridge says:

    You know you need to re-evaluate your life when a Delta Airlines employee says “We missed you last week Miz So & So, & thought you missed your flight”. I had been taking the 6:40 AM flight to ATL a couple of times a week. I said “I was on vacation & I refused to leave the house.”

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