This isn’t what it looks like. I know, I know–a grown(ish) man, in his pajamas, eagerly awaiting the drive-thru window to flap open and a large vanilla milkshake to be conveyed into his idling sport utility vehicle does not look “good.” But what if I told you that the milkshake is not for me? What if I told you that the milkshake is for Wife, my pregnant wife? Would that make the cool kids, who just pulled up in their cool kids car looking like a cross between an American Eagle and American Spirit commerical, think I was NOT teetering on the brink of a late-twenties melt-down? Eh, who cares? Truth be told, I’m kind of enjoying this devil-may-go-on-pajama-milkshake-runs attitude. Besides, it’s not like I’m browsing the Metaphysics section at Barnes & Noble. I’m in a drive-thru: the penalty box of the food industry. Why a penalty box? Because you’re enclosed in glass and metal, feeling shame, until the guy in the box next to you gives you your change. Maybe next time I should roll up in my hockey gear for Maximum Analogy Impact. The point is, when you have a pregnant wife waiting on the other end of your errand, you can wear pretty much whatever you want without being scrutinized by strangers. Heck, I could be wearing a tuxedo and not feel embarrassed. Actually, wearing a tuxedo in a drive-thru, alone, would be much, much worse than wearing pajamas. That just screams “Prom Ended Early” or “The Spy Agency Wasn’t Hiring.”
If the answer is “Yes” or “Maybe” or “Huh?” to the above questions, I have got the place for you.
Picture this: you’re fighting rush hour traffic to get home so you can cook a half-assed dinner to be eaten in front of the television/computer screen/Boteach Entertainment Tube when you suddenly realize you forgot to go grocery shopping this month. You rack your brain for creative cuisine ideas. Maybe you could grill some of the dandelions that are devouring your lawn like a yellow plague of death. Or perhaps you could steam some gravel.
That’s when the clouds part, and a heavenly glow envelops a red clapboard roof cresting the horizon. It is a fast food dining oasis.
You don’t venture inside the building, because one look at the 1960’s neo-Vomitus interior design through the restaurant’s bubbling plastic tinted windows makes your corneas itch. Instead, you bring around your clunky sedan to the ancient drive-thru order box that sounds like a WWI radio runnin’ out of juice, and, nearly screaming, you place your order.
“Ya, gimme two supah beefs with mozzarella sticks and a lahge fry.”
You drive to the pick-up window, where Bill – or is it Bob? – rings you up on a register that looks like it was put in a dishwasher on “Pots & Pans” and hands you your greased-soaked bag of happiness along with a hand-full of filthy change.
No, it’s not a dream. It’s Bill & Bob’s Famous Roast Beef, off Route 38, Woburn, Massachusetts.