I'm the kind of person who skips to the conversation when reading a book.
I have long had a love-hate relationship with drive-thru windows. My hearing has been bidding me a slow good-bye for some time now so the muffled sounds that come out of the little speaker are barely intelligible. I love it when they have the little screens that show what I just ordered. Otherwise, I generally agree whatever the speaker says and drive to the window with my fingers crossed.
This drive-thru experience, however, occurred when Andrew was driving. His wife was beside him and I was comfortably settled in the back. We were on our way to the beach when they decided to swing through and get an iced-coffee.
As Andrew pulled in, he called over his shoulder to me, “Do you want anything?”
“Just a cup of ice water,” I told him. It was a hot day.
He pulled up to the speaker and said, “One medium iced coffee and a large cup of ice water, please.” The speaker mumbled something back at him and he pulled ahead.
When we got to the window, a pleasant young man leaned out with a drink in his hand. Andrew’s wife said, “That’s not what I ordered. That’s a small; I’d like a medium.”
The barista said, “One small caramel mocha latte.”
Andrew handed him his credit card and said, “No, we ordered a medium iced coffee.”
The young man retained the drink, took the credit card, and withdrew into the restaurant. He set the mocha latte right by the window while he presumably went on a search for the iced coffee.
After a minute or two, a different worker leaned out of the window with the latte in his hand. “No,” Andrew said again, “we ordered a medium iced coffee.” The worker withdrew.
A few more minutes passed and the original helper opened the window holding the medium iced coffee.
“Don’t forget the cup of water,” I piped up from the backseat. I was feeling rather parched at this point.
Andrew took the coffee and reminded the man that we also wanted a water. He disappeared into the restaurant. Again somebody else leaned out to us with the beleaguered latte.
“No, we’re waiting on a water,” Andrew started to say when the fellow appeared with the water. He handed the water out, and the little window slammed shut.
We sat there. “What are we waiting for?” I asked.
“They still have my credit card,” Andrew answered.
The next time the window opened, it was a manager-type person. He offered Andrew the latte. “No, I’m just waiting for my credit card,” Andrew explained.
Before the little window closed, we could hear the man yell, “Where is this guy’s credit card?!”
By now, I was pretty interested in what was happening and watched through the little swinging windows as several people rummaged around near the register. The manager-type triumphantly found the card and leaned out the window once more to offer it to Andrew.
“I don’t think I’ve paid yet,” Andrew told him.
The man looked back at the register, grimaced, and withdrew once more with Andrew’s credit card. When he finally handed it out the window, he said, “Thank you for your patience.”
As we drove away, I had two thoughts. One: it must be harder than it looks to work in a fast food restaurant. And, two: I wonder whose mocha latte that was.