Saturday, January 10, 2004
This time, D has been sent to the window and is handling the orders while I'm trying to find a way to look useful, even though th line isn't moving, the happy meal boxes are prepared and all the trash and boxes have been taken out.
D is a pleasant but very young guy, fitting, from all I see, all and only the positive stereotypes of Cantonese Americans. Like O, he's a good sport, but not as smooth.
When the steam cleaning Mars rover thing was returned to wherever it is they return it to after steam cleaning things, they left the spray attachment in the window area. It's a very long metal gun thing with some balck rubber parts and looks like something they would use as a flamethrower in the Alien movies.
After a few minutes of standing around, I pick it up and begin handling it like a Hlooywood action star.
D:'Hey!... why is that here?'(smiling)
Josh:(dramatically calm)'There has been another...incident'
I can see eyebrows raising on the customer just outside the window, who was pretending not to look and is now pretending not to listen. I swing the scary-but-harmless object toward D.
D:'Hey!... don't point that thing at me!'(trying not to laugh, I can see from my angle)
Customer looks incredulous, probably hearing only nervousness in D's voice.
Josh:'I've got to get it sighted in. Just hold still for a second. I'm gonna get that Giant Robotic Octopus next time. I'll GET him.'
The line begins moving; the customer probably does not hear D busting a gut.
(actual Canadian guy)
'But it's about the same isn't it?'
'No, sir. It's worth about 15 US cents at the Consulate in LA'
'But we use yours all the time!'
'Naturally; they're worth enough.'
'Oh, come off it! They're THE SAME'
What I say*:
'Of course, Sir. So you won't mind if 30 million of my friends vote in your next Parliamanetary election, because... y'know.... we're about the same.'
*(what I'm thinking: 'Of course, Sir, so you won't mind if I fuck your Canadian wife...')
'FINE. I have another quarter.'
Monday, December 22, 2003
I have to bring some costume stuff with me to the clinic job before Saturday because I will be changing into the costume at the clinic after my McD shift in order to save a trip home before the Saturday event. The plastic sickle for the costume doesn't collapse or fit in a bag.
It's early and I haven't had any coffee and I can't think clearly, but I'm waiting for the N-Judah,
smoking a cigarette and reading the book.
When I look up, there are A LOT of people trying not to seem to be looking at me.
Some are looking at me openly. I know it can't be because my fly is down.
Then I snap out of it and realize what they're looking at:
A guy in a McD cap and black medical scrubs smoking a cigarette with Fast Food Nation in one hand and a sickle in the other hand.
Oh.... NOW I get it.
Sunday, December 21, 2003
I don't have any quarters, but I have a JFK half-dollar and some cents (we don't use pennies in the US). The JFK piece is shiny new and its cerrations are a bit rough. It is too large to fall into his hand
and it drops to the pavement. I am rwaching for some nickels and dimes to replace it.
'HEY! You gonna give me my change or not?!'
'Not that change. I want what you dropped.'
'Sir, I don't think...'
"Come on! You dropped it- now pick it up!'
I squeez my upper body down between his car and the building and pick up the JFK.
'Yeah. Now put it in my hand!'
'Sir, i don't think...'
'Put it in!'
I push the coin into his hole, but the cerrations apparently abrade the skin webbing
between his thumb and finger.
'Your first time, sir?'
(looking at coin)
'Shit, I asked for that, didn't I?'
'We can just keep this between us, sir.'
Monday, November 24, 2003
Two guys are giggling a lot while they give their order.
When they get to the window, I'm focused on the order screen when
a cloud of something comes across my view.
I look over and the guys are both squirming in their seats and smiling WAY
too hard. The passenger's fingers are covered with a white substance I can only guess is the same stuff blown lightly onto the left side of my uniform by the autumn breeze passing through the windows of the car.
I give them their change and they pull forward.
My supervisor happened to be near and heard the giggling;
'What's so funny?'
'The guys in that car were doing a lot of cocaine and they made a big mess of it.'
'Did they offer you any?'
'Not exactly'(showing supervisor the bills in my hand, which have cocaine
stuck to them) I really didn't want this.'
'No big deal. Do you get many offers?'
'I usually see pot and alcohol. When they offer, it's usually a drink.'
'Well, you might as well take it next time. (he knows I wouldn't)
Have you seen anyone getting a blowjob?'
'Don't worry; you will.'
Friday, November 21, 2003
'I'll have the bacon McGriddle. Can you put pickles on it?'
'Perhaps, maam. We are shifting from breakfast to lunch, so
there's a chance that right at this very moment we can do that.'
(to front window)
'Podemos poner pepinillos en el McGriddle? Si o no?'
'I'm adding the pickles, maam'
'Your total is $X.XX. Please proceed to the first window.'
(at the window)
'Joshua... my lighter's broken. Can you give me a light?'
'Normally I'd be happy to, maam*. But not this time.'
'How did you know?'
'Just a guess, maam.'
Thursday, November 20, 2003
A pimply white stick figure of a guy in elaborate football fan attire hands me a wad of crumpled, greasy one-dollar bills.
'Is this eleven, sir?'
'Yeah. That's eleven.'
In order to keep th line moving, I give him his change and intend to count the
bills while I wait for the next car to come into position.
'Your change; thank you sir'.
As I count the bills, I come only to nine.
There is a car getting its food ahead of the sportscar, so I should have
a few seconds at least to notify the front window of the problem.
'DO NOT SERVE THE SPORTSCAR YET. I AM SHORT $2'
The next car pulls up and I them and the car at the intercom that there
will be a short delay, for which I apologize. I can't use the left screen or
the register until the order is clear, and I can't do that until I have $2 more or it will fuck up my drawer at the end of the day. There is a $3 fudge factor and I might be 2/3 of the way there during the first hour of my shift (bad). The front
window person has been explicitly trained not to serve food unless I have cleared
the order, which I have just refused to do, and which should be completely visible on her own screen, in any case.
The sportscar pulls up to the front window and I see food going through it.
'DO NOT SERVE THAT FOOD! THEY ARE $2 SHORT!'
I jump out the window and bolt past the cars to the front window,
but I don't have time to discuss things with the person at the front window;
I can see the sports fans have their food and are going to be gone in a second.
I run out in front of the sportscar, gesturing for them not to move.
(to the car six cars back, via intercom)
'I apologize for the delay, sir. It'll be just another moment'
(to the front window, via intercom)
'I'm getting that $2 right now'
(to the sports fans)
'I'm $2 short.'
The sportscar revvs its engine.
I give the driver my very best McDonald's smile.
This guy didn't realize he had been trying to rip off a guy who turned down a job with US Army intelligence to work at McDonald's drive-thru.
The engine revvs louder and the car lurches as if the guy must be applying
both the brake and the accelerator.
I fold my arms over my chest.
The girl in the passenger seat has apparently realized I'm a wild card and doesn't want to see me tested any further. She hands her football hero two bucks and he
sticks them out the car window far enough that the McD employee at the front window should be able to grab them, but doesn't.
Risking that the car will flee (not that I haven't memorized his plate number anyway), I walk to the money at the end of the skinny arm and grab it without
stopping on my way back to my proper station. The two cars in back of the sportscar seem to be watching me rather intently.
As I climb back through my window, I can hear the sportscar speeding off and the
car in back of it pulling up to the front window.
(from the person at the front window, via intercom)
'Yosh-wa! You don't have to do that!'
'Claro, amiga. Puedes pagar proxima vez.'
Guy in the car just outside my window, reading my name tag:
'Joshua... I have EXACT CHANGE.'
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
out the front window fast enough.
O. has been sent to 'help' Josh at the back window, ostensibly because,
being Jamaican, he speaks enough English to enter the orders efficiently while
I take money and give people change.
As much as I like O., it's clear to me that he's not anymore help to me than anyone else would be as long as the backup is at the other window.
I can't help wondering if they just sent him back to me to get him out of their way up front.
O. and I spend most of our time making small talk because it looks bad if we
break down cardboard boxes or put happy meal toys into happy meal containers
to pass the time, since we're supposed to be trying desperately to keep up with
the lightning-fast service at the food window.
The window is open and a tired, professional-looking woman in a cheap but
well-maintained car is sitting just outside trying to seem patient. We have already
given her change and the line has to move before we can make change for the
car behind her or take the next order two cars back from her at the intercom.
I have just thrown myself out the window, hanging on by my knees in order to
pick up a handful of change someone dropped earlier, and thrown myself back
inside in a well-practiced fluid motion suggestive of maniacal obsession.
The woman in the car is a daily customer and has seen me do this before,
so she is not surprised.
Finally, I decide it's so slow that I'll have to start exercising again;
not to get attention (I usually do it while no one's looking) but
because I figure it's as good a time as any, and if anyone finds it
amusing, that's just fine.
I start doing some reverse pushups off the window sill.
O.: 'Hey mon, I see you drink dat coffee and do exercise all de time.
Why you do dat?'
Josh:'I drink the coffee and do my French Kung Fu* because I have to
be strong and fast and maintain eternal vigilance against the Giant Robotic Octopus.'
(* French Kung Fu is mostly ballet, plus some diagonal one-armed push-ups
off the windowsill)
O.:'Yah, mon. I hear ya. Do he give you any trouble lately?'
Josh.:'Not lately, but I think he may have finally found out where I've been hiding
during the day.'
O.:'Are you worried, mon?'
Josh.:'Not as long as I can pick up the change fast enough. If he sees it
shining out there in the sunlight, he'll conclude that I'm getting sloppy and he might not be afraid to strike again.'
O.: 'I hear ya mon. Can't nobody fight that big robot octopus like you, mon.
He be a tough one!'
Woman in car: 'WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU GUYS TALKING ABOUT?!?'
Josh.:'I'm sorry you heard that, maam. You weren't supposed to.
Company secrets. Have a nice day and please come again.'
(Josh shuts window)
Woman in car: laughing uncontrollably