Drive thru conundrum
Here’s my constant conundrum:
I arrive at the McDonald’s drive-thru. It’s a tandem drive-thru, meaning two speakers. Two lines.
The line to the left has three cars. The line to the right is empty. Either the people waiting in the left line don’t know about the speaker on the right or don’t care enough to pay attention.
What do I do?
Pull forward to the empty speaker, cutting ahead of at least two of those cars in the process?
Or do I shift from drive to park, exit my car, and approach the waiting cars? Tap on their window and point to the empty speaker? When they look confused, shout, “There’s another speaker! Over there!” in that terrible, slow way we speak to non-English speakers, as if speaking at half speed will increase their understanding of the language.
And risk scaring the hell out of the people listening to traffic on the threes and classic rock while doing so.
Also, if I choose this clearly insane course of action, I’ll be repeating it at least once per week, because this happens all the time.
The only logical choice to to drive ahead to the empty speaker and cut ahead of those three cars. Right?
If I get behind the three cars on the left, then the next car will undoubtedly cut ahead of all of us, and justifiably so. There is an empty speaker and clear signage on both the pavement and hanging above indicating its presence. I’d be happy to allow the people in front of me to order their food and drink first, but I’m not going to allow someone who arrives after me to cut ahead of me simply because some people haven’t figured out how the drive thru works.
Still, I feel rotten about it every time. My only solace is hoping that by seeing me pull ahead to the empty speaker, the morons in the other line will bear witness to the error of their ways and know better next time.
And not want to murder me.
But here’s my deepest, most unspeakable fear:
What if the person in the third car in line knows about the second speaker but purposefully avoided it, not wanting to cut anyone. What if that person made the same calculations as me and chose to wait, knowing full well that they would likely be cut by some monster like me?
What if that person is an angel – a ridiculous, stupid, utterly unlikeable angel – and I’m a devil?
I know I only have one choice in this unfortunate scenario. I know what needs to be done. I guess I’m not looking for a suggestion on how to act but begging for forgiveness for choosing the only path that makes sense. I need your voice in my ear, saying, “Go ahead, Matt. Nothing wrong with cutting ahead of these people. They had exactly the same opportunity that you have, but for some reason, they failed to see it or take it. Maybe, thanks to your wisdom and insight, they’ll learn from their mistake and to better next time.”
That is what I need.