You know, I am not an amateur when it comes to ordering fast food.
I have 3 kids.
It's kind of embarrassing to admit -- I mean, we do TRY to eat healthy most of the time -- but we have probably bankrolled several burger-flippers through Ronald McDonald University.
But I have never had an experience like I did yesterday.
It was 3:00 in the afternoon and due to a very late breakfast and an insanely hectic Sunday morning, none of us had eaten lunch.
Nadia wanted Taco Bell and Natasha and Raisha wanted Sonic.
No big deal, right?
They are across the street from each other and within 5 minutes of my house, so it shouldn't take long...
I pull up to the speaker/menu board for Taco Bell and place my order. Then I pull forward. There are only 3 cars in front of me (yay me!) so I've obviously come at a good time. Five minutes go by before I can pull up to the window to pay, but still I don't worry because this particular Taco Bell is notoriously SLOW.
When the guy at the register hands me my bag of hot sauce and closes the window, I get a little anxious. I knock on the window to no avail so then I blow my horn. He comes back to the window eying me warily.
"You forgot to give me my credit card back."
He sighs and rolls his eyes as though I am a complete moron and informs me shortly, "It's in the bag."
Oh, well silly me.
How could I not know that you tossed my CREDIT CARD into a plastic bag filled with napkins and little, plastic packets of liquid MSG?
I then continue to sit in the drive-thru lane for another THIRTEEN MINUTES.
I know this because I was watching the clock as I proceeded to edit every single contact in my cell phone directory.
When I do finally pull up to the window, a woman who is missing her front teeth informs me that they are out of ground beef.
Out of GROUND BEEF.
And would I like steak or chicken in my tacos instead?
NO, I would NOT like steak or chicken in my tacos.
I try to stay calm and pleasant as I ask, incredulously, "WHY didn't the guy at the register tell me that 18 minutes ago???"
"Uh, I forgot to tell him."
I could go off on this lady, but let's face it; she probably makes minimum wage and her life is no picnic working at the Bell. Besides, there are NINE other cars behind me who have also been sitting in line for at least 15 minutes.
She gives me my refund and I head across the street. Nadia will just have to eat Sonic today.
Good, old Sonic.
Trusty, reliable Sonic.
I pull up to the speaker/menu and start to place my order:
"I'd like a chicken strip meal with..."
The overly-excited, teen girl with a very squeaky voice on the other end of the intercom interrupts me:
"Oh, do you want the chicken strip KID'S meal???"
"No, I want the Adult chicken strip meal."
"We don't have an adult chicken strip meal."
Really? Since when? I have been ordering this meal for almost 7 years!
I ask her to clarify.
"Well, ma'am we have a chicken strip DINNER."
I look around for the hidden cameras and Ashton Kutcher and kind of give a little laugh...
"Well, yeah, that's what I mean; the chicken strip meal/dinner whatever."
"But it's not a meal, it's a dinner."
It starts to occur to me that I am NOT on another episode of Punk'd and this girl is NOT JOKING. She's serious!
"Excuse me? What's the difference? Never mind, let me just finish my order."
"But ma'am do you still want the chicken strip dinner?"
I pull up to the pick-up window and I try to chuckle as I say to the girl -- who looks to be about 17 -- "I thought you were pulling my leg back there."
"What do you mean?" she asks completely wide-eyed.
"Well, I've been ordering that as the 'chicken strip meal' for nearly 7 years."
"And no one has ever CORRECTED YOU?!"
I could stop here and try to expound on the benefits of homeschooling and why my child will never confuse a meal and a dinner, but I'll restrain myself.
Besides, surely this was all just a bad dream.
I mean, seriously??
Taco Bell runs out of ground beef in the middle of the day and Sonic employees all have head injuries??
But then I pull out my credit card to pay for my Starbucks and there, in the corner, is just a *tiny* drop of dried-on, spicy Fire sauce...