Love At The In & Out Burger
It feels like our divisiveness grows every day. We only speak to expose our differences and come together like a hospital gown. But I have a tale for you of Love At The In & Out Burger.
I’m coming in off the road, trying to make it back home as the winter sun goes down. I feel starved as I pound my little Prius down the freeway. I’m so hungry… and then I see the red and yellow sign of an In & Out Burger!
I get in the drive-thru line and I am right behind a gigantic pickup truck. American flags all over it, it’s got duel exhaust that look like they’re three feet off the ground. These exhaust pipes belch carbon monoxide with a rhythm that sounds like a heavy metal band, blowing over my little car. I can’t breathe so I stop and let the behemoth get way ahead of me. This messes up the operation of the drive-thru; for the windows to work efficiently you’re supposed to keep moving ahead and now I’m slowing the process for everyone. Cars honk behind me, I can’t help it, I gotta breathe.
I begin making up all kinds of stories about the pickup truck driver. I start with what I imagine is his political view (“I bet I know who you voted for!”) and devolve into stereotypes of who I imagine is in the big truck.
“Why all the flags, pal? Got a short-term memory problem about what country you’re in? You think you’re the only one who loves America? What gives you the right to co-opt the symbol of our country? Oh, I bet you are making fun of my Prius right now, a car that you probably think of as a wimpy liberal excuse for transportation. Sorry that I accept the science regarding global warming and that I oppose using catapults to hurl unaccompanied minors back into Mexico and have to deal with you not getting vaccinated because you don’t know exactly what is in the vaccine oh is that a Coca Cola you’re ordering up there? Like you have any idea what is in your drink…”
and yada, yada, yada, until I degenerate into insults about his mother. I turn the air in my little car blue with profanity.
When I get to the pay window the young man says, “Here’s your burger, no charge.”
“The guy in front of you paid for yours…”
“I don’t know, he said something about apologizing for exhaust.”
Now that… humbles me. I was making up stories about a guy who was paying it backwards.