Sunday, June 30, 2013

Fast Food Disasters: When Hunger, Drunkenness, and Despair Collide

On monday night I was so hungry and toasted and tired and angry that I went to McDonald's. I "ate my feelings." I even got bacon on my Quarter Pounder. I ate it on my stoop despite the fact that it was raining a little. I sat there and shoved a burger and fries into my face. I didn't even care that maybe my food was getting wet. It was a fast food disaster. A minor fast food disaster, but a fast food disaster nonetheless.

You may be wondering what the difference is between simply eating fast food and having a fast food disaster. Well, I'll tell you. Whenever you are on the go during your busy day and only have time to pop into whatever eating establishment is closest and most convenient to get a quick bite, that is no disaster. To be sure, you are committing an act of violence upon your body by ingesting this food. Sorry, as awful as it sounds, it's the truth. However, there is nothing nihilistic and/or inherently ridiculous about what you have just done. A fast food eating experience is elevated into a disaster when the following elements come together:

You normally don't eat fast food, but now you want fast food really, really, really badly because you are WASTED and it seems like a great idea because you are hungry. Really, really, really hungry. Which brings me to the next element:

You wouldn't feel this way if you had eaten a proper meal before going to all those bars you just went to. You would have been able to afford to do both were you not working a shitty job, and you wouldn't feel so shitty about your shitty job if you hadn't been working there for as long as you had. Hence:

Nothing matters, guys. Let's get two Big Macs and a giant dolphin tank-sized cup of Sprite. I don't even care how fat and/or constipated this will make me feel in the morning.

There you have it: the trifecta of badness. Prepare yourself, for you are about to embark onto some epic meal time shit.  I think that fast food disasters are the eating equivalent to binge drinking. The glee with which you will devour your food will disturb you in the morning. But, as is the case with many wild nights, it will also make you laugh your ass off. Or could it be that are we laughing to keep from crying?

I first recognized that fast food disasters were an actual thing right after Hurricane Sandy hit. As you recall, there was no subway service for a few days and we had to take the bus everywhere. Which is fine- I love the bus. But that's neither here nor there. The point is, I'd been drinking for hours with some friends of mine in South Williamsburg. The fucked-up nature of the storm and all of the havoc it wreaked drove us to drink, but we also overindulged because we were all going completely stir-crazy. When the night finally wound down, I walked to Borinquen Place to get the B60 bus home. That's when I saw it: The golden arches. That's when I realized: I am fucking HUNGRY and goddammit, I refuse to dip back into the vat of homemade lentil soup that i've been subsisting on for the past two days. 

So, I went inside and ordered food. I didn't go too crazy: I got a double cheeseburger and jammed out of there. I walked to the bus stop and what do you know, there's the B60! There's the B60... and it's pulling away. NOOOOO I thought, and I ran like a bastard. Busses are slow, right? They are hulking, lumbering pieces of machinery. Surely I could sprint five blocks or whatever ridiculous short distance that the average bus travels before it stops again.

Well, as you can guess, I wasn't as capable of this as I thought. I almost made it, but then it pulled away again. Undeterred, I kept running, hoping to catch it at the next stop. Again: failure. I gave up. I sat on a stoop with my burger. Before I bit into it, I took a moment to reflect on my life. I had just drunkenly run after a bus with a sack of fast food in my hand. Something about it seemed/seems very gross to me. I need to make some changes, I thought, sinking my teeth into my delicious/terrible/delicious burger.

Predictably, those changes I planned on making did not end up happening. A few months later, after drunk shopping at Brooklyn Night Bazaar and paying a visit to a friend off the Gates stop on the J, starvation set in. I was with my best girl, Kelly. We wanted fried chicken but fried chicken was nowhere to be found. Hark: in the distance we saw a- you guessed it- MCDONALD'S FRANCHISE. Jesus Christ, they are everywhere and I am doomed. Anyway, we approached this reprehensible mecca of crap and were devastated to discover that they were only serving people who were getting drive-through. Even though we knew it would be fruitless, we walked up to the microphone and tried to get somebody's attention. Of course, we were ignored. "Now what?" we wondered. But not for long: a green SUV pulled up beside us. The driver's window rolled down and a guy leaned out and asked us what we wanted. He offered to order it for us from his car so we could eat. Kelly and I high-fived and told the dude what we wanted. We gave him our money and hung out next to the car while he pulled up to the necessary windows.

As we waited for our food, K and I both agreed on something: this was the stupidest thing we had ever done.

While we were in line, a group of gay dudes approached us on foot. They were also hungry and about to have a fast food disaster that was on another level (you'll see what I mean momentarily). "How did you guys do that?" they asked. "We tried to order but nobody paid attention to us."

We explained to them that they needed to find somebody in a car to help them out as we had done. They were like, "okay," and went to the back of the line to wait for somebody to pull up. Meanwhile, Kelly and I got our food, thanked our guardian angel, and sat down on the curb next to a giant dumpster. Yeah: a dumpster. We reiterated to one another that this was, by far, the dumbest thing we'd ever done. Then we dove into our 20-piece Chicken McNuggets/Double Cheeseburger/large Coke/large fries with a level of gusto that some might find unsettling.

In the middle of gorging on all this shit, we spied the gay dudes walking across the parking lot towards us. The guy who was the most wasted was leading the pack. "Please!" he called, "there is nobody pulling up to the window! I'm so hungry!"



"No way, get your own!" said Kelly. "We worked hard for these fries!"

The dude was pleading and pleading as his friends began leading him away and mouthing apologies to us behind his back. The despair was palpable. I suppose we could have given him a french fry but quite frankly it kind of freaked us out how desperate he was. Like I said before, these dudes had fallen into a fast food disaster that had eclipsed our own. The only thing worse than eating a shit-ton of fast food while wasted is not eating ANY fast food while wasted and hating life because of it. Getting led away by your friends has got to be the cherry on top of the whole thing. Oh well. I suppose they probably didn't feel as shitty as we did the next morning. I had to go to work. Needless to say, it proved to be a rough shift.

Luckily, these are the only two (three?) fast food disasters of this caliber that I have experienced. It is getting dicey, though. I live right next to a twenty-four hour McDonald's. I have been going through this phase where I suck at going to the grocery store. As you can see, this is a recipe for a fast food disaster. It is up to me to stop the cycle. Today i dropped forty bucks at Food Bazaar in the hope that I will stop being lazy and get back into the habit of making my own meals in the comfort of my own home. When I wake up in the morning after having been out late the night before, I sometimes feel badly about the things I've done: kicking over traffic cones, falling down, sending hostile text messages, flirting with people I wouldn't normally flirt with, breaking things, losing things- all of this does not happen often, and when it does I get over it fairly quickly, but it still feels kind of shitty to think about for the first half of the day. I am still young, and I feel that I am not doing anything wrong. However, if I can eliminate something that makes me feel gross in the morning, I think it's worth it. Instant gratification proves not to be so gratifying in the end, and how much longer would it actually take for me to just get my ass home and make a sandwich? I'm happy to say that I did as much last night. Not bad for three in the morning, I'd say. 


Charlie Tatum said...

love this


RANDALL said...

thank you charlie! xoxo!!!

foodfeud said...

Randall I got blackout drunk the other night and woke up pantsless next to yr mac and cheese that had been in the fridge for a week and I don't even eat cheese.
So I think you are doing okay.
And sorry.

Anonymous said...

hilarious and entertaining posts. My curiosity is piqued, however by this mysterious "K". Hmmm. Could it be Kafka, or the ghost of Kafka. I can envision him anxiously observing your antics while massaging his temples with his fingertips in a futile attempt to forestall the onset of a devastating migraine.