Friday, February 06, 2015
Today I am grateful for inane phrases. Facebook is splattered with phrases to make me feel either good about myself, make me understand that someone else is struggling, or make me wonder why I’m even walking the face of the earth. I get that people care and like to share so it’s okay.
Everywhere I go out in public someone is assaulting me with the mindless phrase, “Have a nice day”. Sometimes that gets too much! I know they don’t want me to have a nice day. They don’t give a crap if I get run over by a truck, they just want me outta their face. “Have a nice day” is something their boss told them to say. It’s a script given to people without creativity, without emotions, without the common sense to know WHAT to say. I don’t go to the drive-through often but when I do. . . .
“WelcometoMcDonaldscanItakeyourorderplease?” the voicebox says, before my car has coasted to a stop in front of it, in an accent I don’t recognize, but it could be English. Maybe.
“Hello,” I answer. “I haven’t looked at the menu, yet. Give me a minute, please.”
“WouldyouliketotryournewMcbarbequedpigsearsonabagelwithMcbaconandMcHeartattack?” Crackle. Crackle. Crackle.
“I haven’t had a chance to look, yet,” I’m feeling the pressure. If you’d shut up, maybe I could concentrate on the four-thousand glittering pictures of foods that will add 20 pounds to my butt just by looking at them and be the only things to survive a nuclear blast! Geeze. Drive-through people should work on the streets as drug pushers. They’d make a fortune! I’m palpitating!
I order, then hear a noise, so fast and garbled that I wonder if I’ve been transported to an airport in a foreign land.
“That’llbesixdollarsandfiftyfourcentswouldyoulikefrieswiththatforanotherdollaranddrivetothefirstwindowpleasehaveaniceday.” Was that a question or an order? I’m still doing the translation in my head when she repeats (I won’t) adding, “Maam,maam,maam,” yanking me out of my McHappy place.
“What?” I am fishing around in my McWallet, dropping money everywhere and feeling stress like my life depended on my agility at finding the right change. Now, I’m nervous. I AM NERVOUS!??? What’s that all about? I’m ordering from this chick’s place of employment, from where she draws a paycheck and her ratta-tat-attitude has ME in a state? That’s just wrong. Cars are lining up behind me but so far no one is beeping because the drivers are all texting the operating room where they are performing brain surgery remotely because that’s how important their text is. Or maybe they are videotaping me and I’ll wind up on U-tube. I hope so because I’m still waiting for my big break!
I pull forward and she takes my change while talking in the headset to another victim, “Have a nice day.”
I don’t move my car. She’s back on the headset with the same script. Then she notices me sitting there and says, “Have a nice day.” The window up ahead has a closed sign on it so I figure I’m supposed to wait here, but I start to panic that I’m breaking some cardinal rule of drive-throughs everywhere. Worse yet, I’m starting to care. She repeats, “Have a nice day,” because that’s her last line and apparently we are not working from the same script.
“Are you talking to me?” I ask, perfectly innocent. “Is it me you want to have a nice day or the guy in the Buick behind me?” These are not authorized questions. She has no line for them so she leaves the window and checks with someone in the bowels of the building. Probably the director. He must tell her the McAwful I want isn’t ready so I have to pull to the side while I’m having a nice day. She is talking without a net and flummoxed beyond her own flummoxablilty.
Here’s my Mary’s Lesson for today. Don’t tell me to have a nice day unless you can look me in the eyes and mean it. Pretend you’re on American Idol and Keith, Jennifer and Harry have told you to listen to the lyrics and mean every word you say. Then say, “Have a nice day” in such a way that I interpret it properly. I want you to make me believe that you genuinely hope I plod through my boring little, hum-drum day without major incident like plague or unexplained toenail growth. Sell it, baby. Sell it! Make it your own.
I am grateful that when I use inane phrases, I mean them. I hope you have a nice day! Really! I hope you do. Or if you don’t want to, then don’t. Have whatever kind of day you want. The choice is yours. I care. . .sort of. . .but whatever you decide isn’t going to make or break my day anyway. “Wouldyoulikefrieswiththat?”