As you all probably know, (You do all subscribe to my blog, right?) I have been known to stop at Chick Fil-A just about every morning for coffee. It’s really preparation in case I run into traffic, which only starts the second I leave my house. If I have time, I will go inside for a spicy chicken biscuit. I must go inside to eat a CFA sandwich, because their biscuits, delicious as they are, tend to explode into a cloud of crumbs when you bite into them. You should know that my car doesn’t do crumbs.
When it was McDonald’s—and I don’t stop there much because their coffee always tastes like cigarette smoke to me—I could get a Sausage McMuffin, and if I was in a hurry, I could grip the sandwich by the wrapper (much as a migrating sparrow might grip a coconut by the husk) and munch the last couple of bites while driving the back roads of Great Star Drive, carefully calculating my last bite to be finished before turning onto the wild and crazy Rt. 32. McDonald’s doesn’t tend to put things on their breakfast sandwiches, like the ½ cup of mayonnaise, 93 pieces of chopped onion, and 13 pickle slices that they put on their lunch sandwiches, all ready to squirt onto my console.
But, not everyone has the same high standards as me (That should probably be “same high standards as I,” but that sounds stupid). I’ve seen many people on the roads who have highly developed multi-patella-dexterosity, aka, the ability to use both hands and steer with your knees. The left hand is to hold the sandwich, and the right is for holding the steering wheel, phone, cigarette, dog, lipstick, or stickshift (depending on your preference or bad habits), leaving your right foot to accelerate wildly while steering with your left knee. Believe me, this is WAY harder than it sounds.
I have seen women applying makeup in the sun visor mirror (which is wrong on a couple of levels), and a guy shaving with an electric razor. I’ve seen dogs in laps, their heads sticking out the open driver’s window. But the strangest thing I’d seen until today was a guy eating a piece of cake. With a fork. Off a plate. On the highway. I can’t even imagine trying that without scraping the paint off the Kenworth T680 semi in the next lane. What’s worse is, he was so nonchalant about it. The plate was level, he was probably steering with his knee, and every once in a while, the fork would stab a piece of cake and he’d gulp it down like Augustus Gloop turned loose in Wonka’s factory.
Tonight though, on the way home from work, there was the Hyundai Elantra in the next lane. The lady behind the wheel was talking to the little microphone in the roof of her car, even occasionally waving her right hand around like she was trying to dry her nails (Okay I haven’t seen that one yet). But in her left hand was a ginormous, completely peeled orange. She took a bite. There was a lot of traffic, so we passed each other several times over more than five minutes, a couple of miles, and every time, there was the orange. A couple of bites taken, but most of the orange was still there. She’s probably on her sofa right now, watching reruns of the Golden Girls, talking to her sister Amoeba on the phone, gripping that stupid orange in her left hand.
All I could think about while we passing each other was that juicy, sticky, nasty orange leaking all over the seat and the carpeting, juice getting all over her hand and running down her arm, little droplets dripping off her elbow and oozing into the power window controls. I imagined her in front of me at Chick Fil-A the next morning trying to buy her coffee, handing the cashier a handful of sticky money through the open door because her window no longer works. And that’s when it dawned on me where I went wrong. I should have hit the horn and put the window down and yelled, “Gladys! Yeah, you in the Hyundai! Eat that damned orange!”