Saturday, March 29, 2014

Unlikely Wisdom from My Unhealthy McDouble Troubles

I'm a pretty avid McDonald's goer. I'll admit it. If you'd had asked me anytime up until 1 1/2 years ago, I would have scoffed at the idea of eating at McDonalds. Fast food is gross! And McDonald's with the classless connotations it has behind it (e.g. see "Supersize Me), definitely not for me! 'I eat with refinement, like mushroom burgers' I would've thought (Ron Swanson would've gagged on that thought). Well, things have changed. And I've now grown up into my mature palate of salty processed foods with artificial flavors and food coloring (e.g. the egg yolk in the eggs aren't normally yellow I hear- apparently from my anonymous McDonald's friend they dye them).

I'm not sure how it happened exactly. It was most likely one night, as a busy college student, where I needed a quick fix and McDonald's was right there, so I caved. You just can't beat a dollar menu on a college budget. So my mouth came to know what was called a McDouble, with it's accompanying hot fudge sundae and any size soda drink. The overly salted food coursed through my body, igniting a flame of fiery pleasure to my insides, as well as gas. And thus the addiction began.

It's been an ongoing battle between the gluttonous lover in me seeking instant gratification  against my other food half that eats, well, anything and everything else.

But really, I do love how cheap and relatively good McDonald's can be, especially for the quick accessibility. They also have a good variety of healthy options on their menu, I just never buy them. I mean who really gets excited to go to McDonald's, to then get a lettuce wrap? 'Hey honey, I'm trying to eat healthier, so let's go eat tonight at McDonald's!'. Yeah, I think not also.

I've tried to keep this addiction of mine a secret, I knew all my friends would scoff at me if they only knew (especially my health kick friends who think I'm as extreme as them). But the addiction raged on and the time came recently to finally let my secret out, and with it the accompanying shame. I still carry that guilt 2-3 times a week as I drive my car away from the drive thru, shoving a burger into my mouth with one hand and fries in my lap, shaking salt all over me and my car. Really classy I know. I'm working on it.

I do love eating healthy and making healthy foods; that feeling of energy, health and pride is unlike any other. But I can't help sometimes the easiness of the way to McDonald's. I've been trying to follow a diet pretty stringently this year as one of my goals (check my New Year's Resolution List), and for the majority of the year thus far I've done pretty well. But I have my moments.

One of those moments happened last week when I didn't bring any food for dinner to work to which I thought I could brave the night without anything. But my stomach got the best of me and soon I was shamelessly picking up my dollar budgeted meal when an older gentleman at the McDonald's drive thru window made my day.

This man, who must've been in his later 50's or earlier 60's, opened his yellow arched imprinted window and shined a great big smile at me. He then in his rich voice asked me how I was doing and what plans I had that night. I spoke briefly to him with my mono syllable expressions. Who expects to have a conversation after all with the drive thru person? The man (Bob we'll call him) then wished me a wonderful evening in his cheery voice and waved goodbye. I drove on with my hot fudge sundae in my hand spilling on to my pants, shocked at how respected and loved I felt by Bob. He made me feel happy and inspired me to be better, despite my utter lack of figure friendly food dignity.

I can't imagine anyone ever thinks to themselves at a young age that when they get older, they'd like to man a drive thru window at McDonald's. Try speaking to your child who comes home with that written on their English Report! But regardless, there was Bob, as happy as could be, inspiring all those salty food addicts like myself, leaving them with a smile to make their day. Bob is my hero.

It really doesn't matter where you work, what you wear, how old you are, how smart/educated you are nor how beautiful. We are where we are in this current space of time. It may not be our ideal picture  of what we want our life to be, and that's ok (I'm willing to bet for 99.9% of you out there it isn't). We can keep working on that. But what really matters and how we should really measure ourselves, disregarding everything previously mentioned, is how we treat people. Because really anyone and everyone can make a difference in the life of another human being, you just have to make the choice. You can be a victim of your circumstances or you can be a creator of them.

So to Bob, I say thank you. Truly, in a moment I was feeling so depressed about myself that I had caved once again to fast food, I'm glad I did.  Because I got to be touched by him (not physically Ditto- ew.).

And I hope that despite all the mistakes or triumphs I make in my life, feats or defeats, successes or failures- that I can be happy. And in doing so share that good cheer with those around me. Because let's be real, everyone wants to be happy, and we're all desperately seeking it everywhere we go.

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