Out-of-order ORDER!

I get an “F” for eating last week. At least 4 nights out of 5, we ate out. And, I’m not talking fancy steak houses with side salads. It was cheap, fast, crappy food. One night, I even endeavored to go through the drive through.

Having worked right up to the dinner hour, I dropped off the babysitter and asked the kids if they’d like a special treat. I suggested In-n-Out dinner and “Yes!” was the resounding answer. They were thrilled. However, somewhere between the intersection of thrilled and dead-tired hungry, my daughter lost it in the back seat – screaming for the next 13 minutes (yes – I counted).

Alas, when we arrived to chez burger joint, there was no way I was going in. I joined the 20-car lineup in the drive through. The problem? Kid #2 was still crying (about what, I don’t remember) because what happened next will go down in the mama annals as embarrassing moment #17,734.

I was so busy consoling and negotiating that I drove right past the order kiosk and didn’t even notice until I was a whole two cars past it and nary closer to the pay window. I was stuck. Sh#%! Sh#%! Sh#%!

As I arrived to the pay window, the overly cheerful server listens to my bizarre recount of car shenanigans and mommy dementia, and pleasantly proceeds to take my order. Wow! That was easier than I thought. But, no. She then, ever so kindly, leans back into the kitchen and from over her shoulder yells, “OUT-OF-ORDER ORDER!”

This unleashes a flurry of activity down the synchronized burger production line – right to the pickup window worker, who is now loudly repeating “Out-of-order order?!” As if that’s not bad enough, she is pointing … at our car! Heads start turning – cooks and customers too are now looking at me! I wanted to slide right onto the floor board and hide.

I thought about driving through – not stopping. However, having sat there and watched the fry cooks jumping over one another to collect the “out-of-order” fries and the burger crew, reaching past each other to make two plain “out-of order” cheese burgers, I thought it better to quietly collect my food and never return (at least for a couple weeks).

I humbly and apologetically accepted my “out-of-order order” to which, a different, but equally cheerful server replied, “No problem.” (I saw the knowing glint in his eye and the bead sweat trickle down his cheek.)

Apparently, the drive through, believed to be the last bastion for mother’s sanity is no longer an embarrassment-free zone. From now on, I’ll just eat at home. Toast anyone??

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