Even though we try to keep it to a minimum, being on the road assures we eat a lot more fast food than we would if we were home all the time. It’s funny, when I was a little kid, I would have picked McDonald’s over my mom’s lasagna any day. Now that I’m grown, I’d burn a McDonald’s down to get to my Momma’s lasagna. I have vivid and wistful dreams about her delicious, cheesy, golden lasagna. When we get home from a long stretch on the road, it’s the first thing I ask for.
I have written about being one of the few people in the universe who don’t eat condiments. I prefer my food without drippy, oily messes glopping off it. I like meat and bread, and an occasional pickle or some cheese here and there. Sour cream doesn’t sound like something you should be eating at all, and I’m not at liberty to discuss guacamole in a public venue. Watch your language, this is a public market, son.
It never fails when I neglect to check the bag before leaving the burger joint, my plain hamburger has been defiled into a soggy, unidentifiable mess. I have to suffer eye-rolls from cashiers when I stand at the counter and check my order before leaving, so I’ve learned to covertly open packages while pretending to stuff the bag with napkins. I have never understood why it is so difficult to make a plain hamburger. You’d think the cooks would be thrilled, all they have to do is pull a pre-cooked patty out of the drawer, slap it on a bun and wrap that sucker up. It’s actually less work to make a plain burger, yet no one seems to be able to master it.
I’ll get five or six in a row made correctly, and I get lazy and figure the cycle has finally been broken and not check. It always seems like that seventh sandwich is when we haven’t had a hot meal for 30 hours, and we’re hammering down, and I’m completely ravenous. Once we’re on the highway, it’s too late. Even I’m not so ridiculous as to think George should turn the truck around to return my infected sandwich. I learned real quick stop time is stop time and go time is go time and you better do all your stop things when you’re stopped, ’cause once you go, you’re gone.
Let me make things easier for any other family who has a member afflicted with the “no condiment disorder.” The very worst thing you can say to someone who ordered a plain hamburger and gets a bread frisbee slathered with a four-inch-thick slab of various, slimy condiments covering a minuscule disc of meat is this: “Just wipe it off.” This not only incites anger and possibly causes behavioral disorders, it makes the family member feel as if you’re clearly siding with the restaurant, and disrupts their sense of group connectivity. It also may cause them to stomp off into downtown Dallas in a hissy-fit. Oh wait, that’s tequila. Nevermind.
The proper way to respond is this: “Those jerks. My hamburger tastes like crap, too.” (Unless you’re dealing with a tequila-induced hissy fit, in which case you should respond: “You’re drunk. Go home.”) This creates a strong bond between members. Adversity always makes people come together. It’s also a nice gesture to throw your sandwich out the window and pout along with the afflicted person for at least 50 miles. Keeping a jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread in the truck is strongly advised.
This public service message brought to you by someone who knows, because I suffer from “no condiment disorder.” I may or may not have also navigated the heartbreak of tequila-induced hissy fits. Either way, remain calm and carry on, and we’ll all get through this together.