Friday, October 9, 2009

Getting Out Of My Car, And Getting More Than I Paid For!

I hate the drive thru!
No, hate is a word I hate.
I dislike and question the drive thru.

I love my occasional "Four Bucks" and the odd "Double/double" at the local "Timmy's" But why on God's Brown and grey (used to be green but the drive thru is changing the colour) earth, do we have to line up like lemmings in our automobiles, whilst spewing out the toxic fumes like we were doing the world a favor by not getting out of our cars and walking in to spend our hard earned four bucks on a cup of hot foam?

I am challenged in the respect that speakers in these systems sound foreign in language to this cochlear challenged guy, and on occasion when the wind and rain team up with the "no parking" in the lot, I have done the deed, and driven to the oh so friendly speaker and heard:
"Mey si make your odour plans?"
"Yes, triple grande latte, one raw sugar"
"wood you lake anybing self wid dat?"
"No that's all
"that bums do spew dolls hairs and iffy spine lents. Please live to the sepent widow"

I know what the drill is, and I also know that they probably asked me a few other things to keep their shift supervisor happy. Perhaps wondering if I wanted to spend a few more shekels on a lovely biscotti. But I know what biscotti means: "Twice baked" So twice the price.
Look it up!
So we are lazy at best, because if we were in a "hurry" we would park and run in and grab and go. This of course all falls apart because the owners of these establishments put the "A" team, and plenty of them on drive thru detail, and then challenge them with timers and the history of each hour.

A photocopy that I saw in a "Red Robbin" in Thunder Bay last week
"October 3rd 2006 was our best shift ever! 284 vehicles served in the 7 to 9 am time, with an average serve time of 29 seconds per transaction. Can we beat that today gang?"

Now I park (farthest away) and wander in to the shop for many reasons:
  1. I like to walk. I spent 100 days in a hospital bed, another 30 with a walker and/or wheel chair, then the next 90 with a cane. This from a guy who ran two half marathons in 2004 and 2006, then had a medical 9/11 in 2007.
  2. Fresh air in me lungs feels good, and I take it whenever I can.
  3. The sound quality on a speaker is built for the 90% percent of the population who hear quite fine thank you very much. The 3 million Canadians, and thirty odd million Americans who are deaf or Deaf have no use for drive thru's! I am deaf.
  4. I am also cheap. Burning fuel at $1 a liter of Alberta tea, sucks quite frankly. While one sits in a line to spend $4 on a "FourBucks" I know, I know why the contradiction. Well I treat myself and indulge in an overpriced but lovely foamy frothy drink.
  5. I like people: I am in a space at this point in my life where I like to see face, see a smile, make a smile, tell the person to enjoy the day, eat it up, live it to it's fullest. I like to effect the day!
  6. Exercise is good! I park as far away as I can to get the tiny extra benefit that a brisk walk offers.
  7. For almost 10 months before being implanted with my Cochlear Implant, I lived in complete and profound silence. What I missed the most was one-on-one human conversation. In my hearing days prior to deafness, I took sound and conversation for granted. I traveled life at the speed of life. I never want to take the wonderful world of one-on-one human interaction for granted again!

My beef is that I stand in a small line while ONE nice lady tends to us, while a team of nine young fast bucks try to smash the old drive thru record of 18 seconds per vehicle. God forbid if I order a toasted bagel, the young brash 17 year old will break my servers elderly bones if she attempts to put a bagel in ahead of the 287 cars that NEED to get in and get out!

So what happened?

Why did life get so busy and so important that we can't leave our cars and enjoy the day, say hello to a live face, interact with others in line and live a life that is in real time?
We claim to be good denizens and caretakers of the planet. Just see how much we recycle.
But we can't leave our cars to do us good, other good, and leave a little smaller footprint?
Interact and leave a smile or get a smile?


I can.

There is the odd but occasional gloomy start to the day that began with life's usual fast and furious morning rituals, but has chaos and mayhem thrown at us.
Can't find wallet, realize shirt has stain on it, running ten minutes late due to looking for Guitar Boys permission slip to sign for school, no stamps in house to mail overdue get the picture.
It is no mistake that on these occasions that I feel the need for two things: More caffeine and a warm human smile that is genuine, sincere, and from the heart.
I get this fix from a few places where kind warm souls offer both, and I get the odd wonderful conversation in the line with other good souls who think a bit like me.

You can't get the second part of my equation from a speaker, and a face at the window that is more concerned with speed and serving the person they are talking to through their mic system, then paying heed to my concerns or the day I may or may not have.
The smile and "have a wonderful day" I get live and in person from a "counter" person (and yes they are human and have life"s, and I ask them about their life's if I get the chance. The response to my sincere inquiry is amazingly wonderful) seems to be indeed sincere and well intended, lift my gloom for hours and hours. Where as a drive thru can dampen and frustrate and do more harm to all creatures great and small that no amount of caffeine can ever repair.

I am not naive to believe that the drive thru's will ever be gone, but I am hopeful enough that there are many of us that might do the park and walk thing once a month, and graduate to once a week.
After changing (I love that word change!) some habits a bit and realizing that the smiles and human interactions make a difference. And the planet and our physical selves can get better, step by baby step; perhaps one day many of us may do what I do: Park and walk most days, and occasionally (sheets of freezing rain coming down on my Fourbucks parking lot) do the drive through.

Can we move the world a millimeter to the good by picking one day a month, and get out of our cars?




Anonymous said...

Hear hear! That "iffy spine lents" had me spewing tea out my nose, just so you know. Still laughing!

Jan D-M said...

Hi, Dave,

Yes, I'm around, just very busy and have kind of lost a bit of my desire to post for a time. Just the season I'm in, I think. Am teaching another class at IUSB unexpectedly and the house renovation drained me. Still tying up loose ends for that right now. Organize, purge, etc. Got rid or a lot of stuff yesterday with a garage sale. Donating all the funds to a co-worker who racked up huge hospital bills with a a newborn who almost died.

It's all good, just draining.

Thanks for asking. I'm still reading even when not posting.


Laura ~Peach~ said...

my kids say i am crazy because i park in the WAY OUT and walk into places... unless it is raining or super cold... and i remind them often while they complain that but for the grace of God I would not be able to walk at all and so to show my gratitude I DO when able :) Great post!

Life As I Know It Now said...

I do not "do" drive-thru's either. I walk into the bank or into the restaurant. But I don't eat much restaurant food as most of it is crap and costs too much anyway.

joanne said...

getting out of my car and taking some steps...not easy for a one-legger...but I do it. Thanks for the reminder though, we all need a little kick in the butt once in a while!

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

That is about as clearly as I can hear those drive-thru voices!
I rarely take on the challenge of trying to understand a talk-box, so I'm one of those who, if I must visit "fast food" establishments, will park and walk. I never thought of it as a lessened carbon footprint. For me, it was always a chance to peruse the menu and taking the time to choose. Drive-thru lines always make me feel rushed and trapped.

jeanie said...

he he - the ONLY place I am ever likely to do drive through is at the one fast food outlet we treat ourselves with occasionally - and it has been scientifically proven (by me) that it is timelier and far more comfortable to hop out of my car and walk in.

Of course, we are in the backblocks and so the concept of drive through coffee is completely alien (although trying to get a park in the main drag some days is akin - you will be pleased to know I often CHOOSE to park a block away rather than attempt that) and the fast food outlet of choice is not the most popular, and therefore the term "fast" is rather relative - but they make the food fresh (well, franchise fresh)

Vixbil said...

Hi Dave,

Come to the UK, we don't have many drive thrus..I was blown away when I ran my first errands with an american friend and we did all of it in the car...dry cleaning, dropping of camera film (this shows how long ago it was), etc etc....I couldn't believe there was no walking...

hockeychic said...

I like this post. The part about what you hear through the speaker had me laughing. Sometimes that is exactly what it sounds like to me and I don't have implants!

This is a really good reminder of little ways we can make a big difference. In my household, we have started a habit that if we want to go out, we have to be able to walk to it. So we get exercise and a meal out, not a bad trade!


Government Funded Blogger said...

great rant Dave. I find service faster in store when the drive thru is busy.In out and on my way while the drive thru line up has barely moved.

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