Are you familiar with Sonic? It is a chain restaurant that differs from many fast food options in that there are a bunch of parking spots - on either side of the building, actually - each with a menu and speaker so you can peruse the menu, order at your leisure and have the people bring your food right to your car. You can even eat right there in the parking space if you want to.
I had a fondness for Sonic when I was a post-doc for 2 basic reasons. One was that it was the closest place to my house and the other was that they add flavors to drinks. Lured by the thought of a diet coke with cherry and a little bit of lemon, I decided to go to the new location on my way home from a meeting last week. I frowned at the line in the drive-thru, wondered why everyone avoided the friendly parking spaces with their individual menus and pulled neatly into one, pressed the button and waited for someone to take my order. Then I waited and waited and waited some more for someone to bring my drink.
I was in a good mood, however, and decided philosophically that the procedure was different up north. Should I want a diet coke with cherry and a little bit of lemon again, I would join the line of cars and order at the bigger menu and pick the drink up myself.
I was driving home today, having worked for four hours of the day I was meant to take off, and realized it was 3PM. Sonic, I remembered, had Happy Hour from 2-4 where all drinks were half price. I wasn't feeling particularly happy, having screwed up the software load on all these computers I need for an event next week and generally getting in the way of the lovely engineer who had been sent to handle the project.
Remembering my realization from last time, I dutifully pulled in behind two cars waiting at the drive-thru window and waited. I frowned and wondered what was taking so long about 4 minutes later, having been mulling over my Linux failures and feeling rather dumb. I realized when the car ahead of me honked that the man first in line had just been sitting there. Not ordering. Not waiting for another car. Just staring at the menu. And we were sitting behind him like idiots.
At Second Car's impatient noise, he pulled forward enough to begin his lengthy order and she coaxed her car over the concrete barrier to pull into a spot and place her order as Southern Sonics would have you do. I looked at the bump and decided that the man must almost be done with his endless questions and debates over options and waited behind him until I could order my drink.
I waited while he - a man close to my age, by the way - took a good 2 minutes (yes - I did watch the clock) to find money to pay. He changed his mind on a couple of items at the window and reevaluated options. He took the bag and examined each item individually before slowly creeping away from the window. Then, as I was handed my diet coke with cherry and a little bit of lemon, I watched, open-mouthed with furious dismay, as he pulled into an empty spot and began to eat.
Now I maintain this guy is an asshole. To completely ignore a wildly viable option to do exactly what he did but not get in anyone's way is asinine. That I wished I could hit him with my car, get out to kick at him, then yell for a moment before pulling away means that I'm in a bit of a mood.
I had to take a deep breath when we went shopping and Smallest One would not stop with the "I want that. I want that. I want that. I want that..." I am happy to buy her something and she did pick out slippers and a fuzzy sweatshirt and a toy. And if she wanted to trade the toy she had for something else, I was also cool with that decision. But to endlessly see and demand without any real knowledge of what that even was? It grated on my nerves.
When she and her sister argue - the constant picking and taunting and tattling and yelling eventually turns my gentle, "we don't do that, sweetheart," to "stop, please" to "Knock it Off, Now!" And after I shout, they "cry" and while I know I should feel bad about it, I watch them dispassionately and think that if they're going to do such a lousy job at faking sadness, I'm certainly not going to reward it with apologies or cuddles.
There are mountains of requests at work - projects that have been kept on life support as I've focused on the event that just wrapped up. And now that said event has concluded, the pressure is overwhelming and coming from all angles. "Could you take a look at this? Review that? Come to these 10 meetings? Make this trip? It's only for a day. Well, maybe 3." And that's understandable - and I do want to help! - but I'm tired. I have this other event that requires Ultra-Priority Attention. And so I must deflect some requests and when colleagues are - justifiably or no - irritated? I either snap and glare if said irritation is expressed in person or viciously delete emails and ignore subsequent messages if you dare cross me in writing.
I need sleep. Solitude. And a shower. And while I can get the latter and catch bits of the first, it's the middle that's tripping me up. Much as I hate to admit it, I want my family to go away. I want work people to stop bugging me. I would not mind if a cute boy wanted to offer sympathy and stroke my hair, but I also know I'm positively awful right now.
But it should ease shortly.