Benjamin T. King: In a queue – for a closed drive-thru

For the Monitor
Published: 12/4/2020 6:00:42 AM
Modified: 12/4/2020 6:00:31 AM

Surely, someone could have done something to avoid the bourgeois suffering of which I will tell.

I sat in my car on South Main Street between the Scylla and Charybdis, otherwise known in this tale as Dunkin’ and McD’s. Concord may not be a dining mecca, but no one has ever accused us of lacking adequate fast food options. We have three McD’s in Concord! Six Dunkin’s! And at this sacred spot where I paused in my car this particular morning to make the first big decision of the day (I’d chosen my clothes the night before), a Dunkin’ sits on one side of the street, directly across from a McD’s.

Which culinary blessing to our fair city would I choose to break my fast?

Frankly, I craved Dunkin’. I wouldn’t be surprised if St. Peter hands folks a steaming cup of Dunkin’ as they enter the pearly gates. The scent is just so heavenly.

But a Concord police officer made my choice for me. He roared toward me up Main Street from the opposite direction, swerving into Dunkin’ just in front of me.

The cop car caused the Dunkin’ drive-thru line to stretch into the street, the rear end of the black-and-white poking out as though to say, “Whatcha gonna do about it?”

With a sigh of resignation, I turned right into McD’s. McD’s coffee isn’t so bad, I consoled myself. I cheered up even more when I remembered that I still had $1.08 left on the gift card I got for my birthday. I would spend less for my breakfast than that Concord cop who dared cut me in line!

Six cars stood in front of me at the McD’s drive-thru, plus the car paused at the drive-thru speaker. That was fine, so long as an Egg McMuffin would reward my patience. I cued up the new AC/DC album, PWR/UP, as I anticipated the breakfast that would “power up” my day. What a pun!

Progress was slow, reminding me that I waited in a McD’s drive-thru line. The Dunkin’ drive-thru line moves so fast that I sometimes wonder if they actually cook the food you order or just beam it up from somewhere.

But eventually I advanced to the order speaker, lowering the volume of “Shot in the Dark” so my voice could be heard over the din of guitars and drums.

“Shot in the Dark” yielded to “Through the Mists of Time” as I stared expectantly at the speaker. At long last McD’s recognized my presence – just not in the way I had hoped. “We’re not serving breakfast today!” an irritated voice erupted from the speaker.

“Oh!” I gasped, but before I said anything else, I reminded myself that I never chastise employees for predicaments in which they find themselves, attributable not to them but to folks who make much more money than they do. I drove away, gazing ruefully at the line of cars that stretched behind me, waiting in vain to approach that speaker.

Could someone have placed a sign at the entrance to the McD’s parking lot, informing would-be customers that McD’s wasn’t serving breakfast today?

Sure, someone could have had such forethought. But no one did. So, a line of cars snaked through a parking lot, awaiting a breakfast that wasn’t for sale. An unseen McD’s employee exclaimed in exasperation as she broke the news to yet another customer, that McD’s wasn’t cracking eggs this morning.

And a driver cruised down Main Street toward Einstein Bros, resigned to the fact that “Code Red” – the last song on the new AC/DC album – would likely blast from the stereo by the time he finally made it to the office.

(Benjamin T. King is a Concord resident and a partner at the Concord law firm Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C.)


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