Sometimes I am out in the car, alone or with kid(s) and decide to drive through someplace for food.
I don’t do it often, and maybe that’s part of the reason I have such a hard time doing it.
My drive through experiences often end up with me frustrated, disappointed, anxious, and still hungry for…..something. Sometimes if there is another person in the car with me….we argue.
Well, it goes something like this:
A vague conversation about getting lunch…..or me thinking I should stop somewhere if I’m driving around for work and know I won’t get another chance to eat.
I pull into the drive through.
Sit behind several cars, not able to read the menu, not able to remember specific things I might like on the menu.
Get anxious because I don’t know what I want and I need to think of something……what was that chicken thing I liked that one time????
Squint, and try to read the menu from back here….impossible.
Ask people-if I’m not alone- what they want. If they are older than 4, this can be helpful, because they might actually know what they want. If they are under 4, they might ignore me completely, stare at me blankly, or tell me something not remotely close to what is offered at this place.
Get closer. Am I sweating?
Why don’t they make the menu bigger, so I can read it before I have to order?
Why can’t I think of ANYTHING????!!!
Shit. I’m next.
Do I want a baked potato? Salad? Fish sandwich?
I pull up to the speaker, stuck in the middle of a huge menu wall. Frantically trying to find something, anything that looks like I might want it.
TOO MANY CHOICES.
My brain shuts down.
Oh god, it’s been 14 seconds, I ask for a minute….. the person says yes…. but I know they are rolling their eyes, and probably muting their microphone as they tell their friends what the hell was this lady doing the whole time she was in line, she still doesn’t know what she wants….. and the cars are just sitting there, waiting behind me.
So I just order. Blindly and often stupidly. Things I don’t eat, things I won’t eat. Just to ease this panic welling up because everyone is just waiting for me to make up my damn mind! I feel very unsatisfied as I pull up to pay for the bag of things I don’t want. The girl at the window looks smug. I’m pretty sure she knows I just freaked out back there.
If there is anyone else in the car with me, we might argue about why I only ordered one milkshake, or some tiny thing off the dollar menu for two of us…. or how I embarrassed them by asking for a minute when everyone in the world knows you just DON’T ask for a minute at the drive thru and obviously I’m just not fit to be out here, driving around in society like this…
But usually this happens most when I have no one old enough to guide me through this awful experience and I am forced to rely on my own decision making abilities. Which are pretty bad to begin with, but add a little anxiety and they just go away….
As I pull away, I glance into the bag.
And look for anther place to try again.
Wow. I can relate to this so much. The panic. The not being able to see the menu and then ordering something blindly. (What is the point of a menu if it’s only legible at the very spot, and second, you’re expected to give your order? It almost feels like a prop – there for decoration and not really meant to be utilized.) Thank you for sharing and expressing this specific anxiety so clearly.
Thanks! Happy I’m not the only one out here