The Beast and I met at the Dundas Street West subway station after work so that we could take the Roncesvailles street car home together. I needed his help carrying trays of plants home from our corner grocery store. Our deck is littered with empty terracotta pots waiting to be filled with herbs and other green things.
Foodie: What do you want for dinner tonight?
Beast: I have no idea.
Foodie: How about spaghetti?
Beast: No thank you.
Foodie: Well, if we decide what we’re having now, we can pick up groceries and then we don’t have to leave the house again. I only suggested spaghetti because we have all the makings for it at home. This is what being an adult is like you see. You have to plan–
Beast: We could just take the streetcar all the way down to Queen Street and get McDonald’s.
My initial reaction was to scrunch up my face in a “I’m not that kind of lady” way but the scrunching gave way to contemplation: If we got McDonald’s, dinner would be taken care of, it would be cheap, and because I can’t remember the last time I had a Big Mac, it would most likely be delicious.
Foodie: Yes. I say Yes! Let’s go to McDonald’s!
The Beast ordered two double cheeseburgers, two junior chicken sandwiches and two pies–one apple and one strawberry. I ordered my Big Mac and large french fries. It cost $15 and change. I sat at our table while the Beast waited for our order to be prepared. And that’s when I had the feeling that we’d made a terrible mistake. Everybody around us looked so sad: old people were dining alone; overweight teenage girls talked on their cell phones while their little kids ran all about the place–even outside to Queen Street; families ate in complete silence, except for the occasional whine from a young girl old enough to know about verb usage: “me ice cream!” But the scene that nearly put me over the edge was a woman who left her dirty tray on the table and walked out–even though there were people waiting for a place to enjoy their dinner. Thank goodness the Beast came over with our goods.
Foodie: You see that woman? She just left an entire tray of garbage on her table! Who does that?
Beast: (silence…he’d already consumed one of four sandwiches.)
Foodie: I feel funny in here. It’s not like Harvey’s on the Queensway. That place is filled with people who are pretty darn pleased about eating delicious food, and pleased about the human condition in general. But this place…it’s filled with despair. Nobody’s talking to each other. They’re just eating like animals.
Beast: (eating like an animal)
My McDonald’s meal inspired me with a few revelations: I’m glad I decided not to have kids when I was 16, and that fast food is really fast. Convenient, and cheap too. We were finished eating by 6:00pm, there were no groceries to buy, no dishes to be done, and we had a leisurely walk home. While the Beast made noise in his music jungle, I had time to pick up a few plants, plant the plants, scrub my fingernails clean of dirt, watch The Bourne Identity while painting my nails pink, drink cheap wine, and fall asleep during the bonus features. But next time, I think I’ll take my Big Mac home to eat, or try another location. Suggestions are welcome.