Further Observations in McDonalds
The lawns are always crisp & green at Mac Doh. They are clean & perfect like their famous toilets. Some have a well hydrated square of Kentucky Blue. Others add shrubs and stake up non-fruiting trees. The lawn features depend on the whimsy of the managers read of “Exterior Lawnscaping of free-standing McDonald’s Franchise”. It is like the television channel choices: “The View” or Sports. My familiar name for McDonalds is ‘MacDoh'. A butchered Franco-Americanism from my French cousin. Every time she’d visit the States back in the day before the multi-national goose-stepped its way thru the Arc de Triomphe, she'd yelp “Let’s go to MacDoh!!” which I found telling. Even the French get sick of French food if they think no one is looking.
The Kid in the Wheelchair rocking back & forth sports a large pair of red headphones. They are really ear mufflers if you look closely. The phones have no cable attached. I imagine if he had not been left writhing for 112 seconds with only 29% oxygenated blood in the third trimester, he might well be on an aircraft carrier waving broad strokes of semaphore to fighter jets with enough fire power to destroy Dayton, Ohio should the need arise. But instead he rocks alone at a solo table in a wheelchair in McDonalds, in Vermillion, South Dakota. He has a pair of white plastic leg braces nuzzling his his calves. His calves are doomed to remain in taught anticipation of absolutely nothing because of a trick message from his upper motor neurons. (Ooops! sorry! Did I leave that on?!!) I presume his blank ear goggles keep the outside aural assaults outside when necessary. Today, must necessitate. I use something similar at McDonald’s to keep out the “bad noises" but mine are made by Apple in sleek steal-me white. I run a tidy app pumping a pleasant melange of “Airplane, Light Sea Breeze & Cocktail Party Conversation" to fight off the din of the hoi polloi enjoying their nuggets & fries. I expect his red earmuffs are placed on for him tho I did not see the invisible hand of control. I expect he appreciates that act despite the fact they are too tight on his head, given the alternative. For now, he rocks alone with a cheeseburger, a plastic bottle of milk and his flight deck head phones of silence. I do nothing for him.
Next to him a group of mottled old men sit & discuss the events of Vermillion, SD. Each time a new old timer comes to sit down, he makes an ear splitting racket with the little metal chair legs on the orange plastic seats. Apparently old people don’t lift chairs they bring from other tables when the come to share news at the public square. I expect they set their hearing aids to simply avoid such dissonance. There must be over ten of these suspendered white haired Vermillionaires sitting around this MacDoh table. The table was conceived in a corporate furniture design company in San Diego for a demographically ideal family five. They make do. Some elders have little two wheeled carts for the sport model oxygen tank. Each one demands a separate check in addition to the senior discount and for the MacDoh system this is absolutely not a problem. There are no surly tattooed chicks seething antipathy about maths or extra labor. There is no tip either! Something was awry or titillating in the morning paper and this disturbance has led to the gathering at today’s central table. The tribal chiefs mull & mew but their final judgment is something akin to,
“Well, don’t that beat all?”
One of their number doesn’t hear the final judgement and requests the verdict to be repeated more clearly.
And it does beat all. Beats all that there is a MacDoh within 1.3 miles of every city we’ve ever boon-docked in as we skitter hither & thither with a pocket full of tunes. They have cheap food, toilets with a gentle whiff of bleach and now free wifi for cynics like me to run my business. Darwin calls that success kids. Think about it next time you $4.80 (plus tip!) at the Black Death Cafe for a hand ground latte with a leaf drawn in the foam. In the religion of Capitalism (belief systems being of a spiritual ilk), Capitalism means Money. Money is Manna. The eensy profit margins of corps like Amazon, MacDoh, Walmart smother the lesser gods of mom ’n pop running their hardware/book/coffee shop. They are jealous OT-type Gods, make no mistake. You better hide your golden calf or make a sacrifice. No exceptions.
The seated elders also do nothing for the kid with the ear googles & the plastic milk, rocking to keep up with his infinitely anticipating calves.
I maintain a sense of awe at Capitalist multinational corporate efficiency. Like the US Military. You can shake your fist at the bastards as you squat in your local sipping Guatemalan fair trade but still part of your rat brain knows that no one is really invading your homeland. In a similar fashion, I can use endless wifi for a dollar a day plus free coffee (the way I choose to account for my membership at MacDoh, the peoples cafe) and I get a chance to see the military from the inside.
I would not survive 30 seconds in the military with my lippy insouciance. I’d show up for basic training a little hung-over, make one remark about the likely lack of intellectual curiosity of my squad leader & next thing you know, I’d be sodomized & beat to weeping pulp crying for momma. I am a coward after all. Fighting is for others. I sell art. While I found it easy to hate on George Bush for ruining my beloved country for decades at the turn of the century, real geo-politics is really, really, difficult. I resent those who sniff at the survivors of corporate geo-politics. You try it: ordering plastic shit from China or making your food taste constant everywhere. I mean *everywhere*. Sure there’s no vegetables but give them time, when America wants to eat their veggies, McDoh will sell them. Produce is cheap. Cola is what costs them.
Think about it tho, most of the employees at McDoh are fresh out of high school. They have all of zero skill sets given the abysmal state of US public education. Deprived of direction and hope, they are given a chance to participate in a really well oiled machine that is MacDoh. With a two day orientation, a smart black suit with a little stripy visor, the are the face the masses look into when they are hungry and scared.
“Hello! Welcome to McDoh! May I take your order?”
“We are sad. We are lonely. Hungry feeds my pain. Please help me make sense of all this.”
“ I want a burgerbaconsaltsweet. I want to mainline it to my over charged amygdala and I don’t want you to hurt my Money. I like to look at it. I want soda too. I like sugared bubbles and burping them later.”
“That’s $11.02! You’re order 399!”
I don’t know about you but I like to look at young people. Teens have like +3 Hope Halos on their visors."
Or go into debt for 100k & study Midcentury Moderism first. Suit yourself.
Walmart (where I live) maintains a similar razor sharp distribution chain like the US Military & MacDoh. What can’t you find there? (Then go to Home Depot, idiot.) I ask for a spicy McChicken with Ranch & a medium coffee/two creams. Boom! Two bucks & two minutes later, it’s there, warm, tasty and consistent. Constantsy is comfort in our insane little world where AIDS researchers get blown out of the sky by hopeless young men fomented to pointless rage by fading dictators and first world apartheid continues while we debate the finer points of a 3000 year old book of witchcraft.
Under the double trickling stream of the letter M we gather from our cars, to discuss family, politics and share in abundance. I am not sure our sainted forefathers would be so upset. So we’re a little fat. Try hunger. What would you do differently? What would you do with all those kids? Oh sure, educate them, inspire them, love them - give them ear googles to keep out the rage & ennui.
I’ll have another cup fair trade myself.
Further Observations in McDonalds