I teach at a nearby college from 9 to 12 on weekday mornings. After class, I leave school and head off to tutor my private students. On Wednesdays, I have a very short window of time to get from campus to my student’s house. As a concession to my tight schedule and the need to eat and drive at the same time, I have allowed myself the once-a-week treat of a drive-thru Egg McMuffin at the McDonald’s on my route. (Before the lectures start, let me assure you, my PMS days of jonesing for a monthly French fry fix are far behind me. These post-menopausal days the only other Mickey D’s item I can order in good conscience is the oatmeal—which is actually quite yummy and at least theoretically healthy, but which cannot be eaten while driving.)
Due to the antics of an out-of-control lunatic with no regard for traffic laws, grammar rules, or human life for that matter, my recent midweek McMuffin deteriorated from treat to trauma. First of all, the traffic flow of the parking lot is very clearly marked as one way. To enter the drive thru line, one must circle the building and queue up. One MAY NOT drive up the down staircase so to speak and cut into the drive-thru line, heading off those customers who are rounding the building as per the rule.
It was at this precise juncture that I encountered the lunatic. Just as I was about to take my rightful place as the next car in line, she came vroooming into the parking lot against the flow of traffic, her engine running hot enough to sear every Big Mac from here to Brazil. I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt, thinking perhaps she was fleeing the clutches of a tyrannical despot or possibly the casting director for a proposed The Real Housewives of Hazzard County. For her safety and that of the parking lot pedestrians, I waved frantically to warn her not to proceed in the wrong direction. She not only barreled on, she suddenly swerved so sharply to the right I thought her left tires would lift right off the ground. With this move she effectively cut in front of me in the drive-thru lane!
Before I had a chance to react to these heinous breaches of drive-thru protocol (besides slamming on my brakes, that is), she started blaring her horn at the white minivan ahead of her and then lowered her window to shout, “Move yer a**!”
The poor woman in the minivan hung her head out the window and asked with genuine bewilderment, “Where do you want me to go? I’m in line and there are two cars ahead of me.”
“Then me and him are gonna move yer a** for you!” the lunatic bellowed.
And that’s when I felt compelled to act. Drive against the flow of traffic and cut me off, fine, but I will not stand for grammatically incorrect ranting! If you’re going to curse someone out for absolutely no reason whatsoever, besides the fact that you are an irrational imbecile, then for crying out loud, get your subject and object pronouns straight! How far have standards fallen these days anyway?
As I hit the “down” button on my window, the nut job, without warning, pulled her car out of the line and gunned it onto the highway. The lady in the minivan and I just exchanged shoulder shrugs and head shakes.
Although the unexpectedly abrupt ending to this episode felt a little anticlimactic, it was probably better that my grammar showdown never materialized. If Mayor McCheese had come out to referee under the scorching midday sun, he surely would have suffered a messy meltdown. And then everyone in the drive-thru lane would have been blaring their horns at me—not at I—for delaying their orders while I scraped up His Honor’s sticky buns from the hot pavement.
Next Wednesday, I’m packing my lunch.