What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

In N' Out

When the clock strikes noon at General Mills, the employees disappear faster than Winona Rider with an armful of stolen purses. It's as if a fire alarm is sounded throughout the factory and even the conveyor belts sense that operations will have to be put on hold for a time while personal mastication needs are satisfied. We become Maslow's ants and focus on our hunger needs to the exclusion of our financial ones.

I am more than a little proud to say that I am no different. Lunchtime is an almost sacred rite and bringing face to food, while always a priority, becomes an obsession at twelve noon.

One particular lunch break in the not too distant past, I was hungry but distracted as I ran over an old woman who works in the factory office on my way out the door. That morning, I had been thinking about my diet and wondering if regular visits to In n' Out Burger constituted good eating. I had frequented that fine burger establishment every one of the last three days and, while the thought of an Animal-Style Double-Double with a Flying Dutchman chaser was appetizing, I figured I owed my body better.

I wanted something healthy, something green, so I hopped into my car and sped down my town's main thoroughfare, scanning restaurant titles for the anti-burger.

As I drove, I pensed. Without the steady blare of General Mill's quality control operations to plague my thinking, my thoughts were actually fairly lucid. I thought about the elderly woman I had run over and the merits of spending hours a day in a smelly cereal factory. I considered the recent Cabinent shakeup in Japan and then, tired of thinking, I tuned into VH1 and relaxed to the gentle thump-thump of the latest pop hit.

Before I knew it, I was at a restaurant. I stepped out of my car and walked forward, my mind still thump-thumping. Then, just as I was about to step through the doors of the establishment and into the air conditioned comfort of modern dining, I glanced at the name of the restaurant: In N' Out Burger.

I couldn't believe it. The car had practically driven me here of its own accord. I had made no conscious decision to come here - in fact my thoughts were about health and alternatives the whole time - but here I was nonetheless.

At first I was mildly upset that fate and destiny had denied me the opportunity to have a healthy meal, but I wasn't about to let fate ruin a good time.

I went to the counter and ordered a 4x4 burger, fries, a Flying Dutchman, diet coke and, after the main course, a vanilla shake (see right, click for enlarged image). I wasn't especially hungry, but In N' Out has a way of making room for itself.

My food came quickly and smelled of rich salts and heavy fats. I found a place to sit and thanked God quickly for his providence and direction. Then I lit into the food, enjoying each bite as an original delicacy, despite the fact that this was my fourth time this week eating from the limited In N' Out menu.

I was just stuffing the last bites of the 4 x 4 into my mouth and beginning to eye the lightly crisped fries when a the violent tones of a car alarm cut the air. Everyone in the restaurant heard the noise and the gentleman sitting to my immediate left made a cynical comment about modern gadgetry.

Everyone expected the alarm to subside quickly, but just the opposite happened. The noise continued with the throbbing regularity of the pop song I had just heard in my car.

I looked around the restaurant to locate the car's owner and saw an elderly gentleman who couldn't have been younger than sixty fiddling with his car keys and pointing them out the window toward a Toyota Tundra that looked new enough to have an anti-theft alarm.

The elderly gentleman fumbled and fiddled with his keys for some time, making facial expressions like John Belushi and generally looking defeated by technology. Then, tired of the window, he moved to the door and began clicking at his unresponsive car from beneath the fan that keeps the warm air out.

An In N' Out employee approached the man and asked if he wanted any assistance. I am not sure of the man's exact reply, but it was obviously negative and harsh.

The man's wife vocalized her support, announcing to everyone within earshot that the car was new and that he would "have to get used to the alarm." I thought her choice of words was comically poor, but said nothing.

Between us, the sound got annoying really fast. With the door open, one had to speak exceptionally loudly to be heard above the din and, although I was more focused on face stuffing than conversation, the sound was beginning to give me a headache.

It was about five minutes between when the alarm began to sound and when I left In N' Out to return to work, but the alarm was going full bore the entire time. I think I can be fairly confident when I assert that that is one car that will not be stolen. Or maybe it will, just to halt the alarm.


adrialien said...

you should ask Dan about the In n Out song he and Nano wrote.

Guitarbob said...

how on earth does someone down a 4x4??? Then again, i know a dude who ate a 12 by (and puked his guts out) lol

you can call me batman said...

rly sry, but that's just nasty.