That dang #1 son persuaded me to pick up lunch for him when I went to town for my soda. Actually, I had to go mail some bills. Silly! Who would drive to town just for a soda?
#1 asked for a Thickburger of some sort from Hardee's. I only know it by its number. Kind of like #1. Since I was already there, I also ordered a Big Shef for myself. Retro, you know. Because Hardee's used to be Burger Chef. The very first fast-food joint we got in our town when I was a kid. I saw my stuff on the order-taking screen. But the price seemed cheap. I was hoping that little half-wit did not mess up the order. #1 would be cantankerous, especially after spending 8 days last week without fast food.
I waited 10 minutes, sweltering, in line. You don't think I run T-Hoe in line, do you? He's a guzzler. So I was relieved to finally reach the window. The bag seemed small. I looked inside. And my Big Shef was missing. At least I had the receipt. I had not paid for it. So I drove off. Without lunch. The prospect of hand-delivering food to #1, then slaving over a hot kitchen counter to make my own lunch was not appealing.
See what happened here? That careless teen fast-food worker at Hardee's forced me to have some gas station chicken! Which was not as good as some I've had in the past. That little pullet that gave her life for my chicken breast really needed a boob job. But at least I didn't have to cook for myself for lunch, and I got a 44 oz. Diet Coke in the same stop.
The #1 son made short work of his Thickburger. In his room. Because he couldn't tear himself away from his electronic gewgaws long enough to sit down in the kitchen. But he DID bring in his trash, and the rest of his soda from his combo. He's been off soda for a while, but every now and then succumbs to the call of a value meal. He said I could have what was left. Oh, yeah! A Diet Coke is a terrible thing to waste. So I flipped over the straw and sucked down a few power swallows. I turned my back momentarily to wipe the counter after getting my gas station chicken plated, and when I turned back to the cutting block, there was #1. WITH HIS LIPS ON THE FLIPPED-OVER STRAW, DRINKING MORE OF HIS FORMER DIET COKE!
The issue is not that I begrudge him a few more milliliters of his soda. It's that I had already flipped that straw over to avoid his germs, and now he was drinking out of the straw again, and, well...there was not another side to flip to! It wasn't quite as bad as Lucy van Pelt exclaiming at the Charlie Brown Christmas program rehearsal that her lips had been touched by dog lips. But it was close.
"I can't believe you're drinking out of that straw! I already flipped it and drank out of it!"
"You don't get it. I'm pretty sure you are the reason for the bubonic plague."
"Yeah, that's me. Typhoid #1."
I'm pretty sure none of this would matter if we lived in Laos, like I saw on a Travel Channel show this morning, The Road Less Traveled. Because there, women lived on one side of the village, and men on the other, and 15-year-old boys built themselves love shacks where they invited girls to spend the night, and chickens and ducks and dogs and pigs and water buffalo and cows roamed the village while waiting to be taken closer to civilization and sold. And I'm pretty sure not for pets. But the most shocking thing for the host, Tony Wheeler, was that the animals were running around all together! Which is what we call, in Hillmomba, a farm.
I have a feeling that nobody there would care very much about sharing a straw in a Diet Coke.