Jason Deal

I have tremendous respect for those hardy souls that work at drive thrus, whether it be at local eateries, banks or similar businesses.

I’m glad I’m not one of them.

For one thing, I’m goofy and half strange, but I’ve never cared for drive thrus.

I don’t find them convenient or fast at all. I’d rather take care of business the slow way. I  go into a business and talk to a face-to-face with a real live person and get waited on. I find it much more pleasant and satisfying than trying to converse with someone through that talking box.

To be sure, the pandemic has made drive thrus more important. At one time during the shelter in place last year that was the only way to get something to eat.

It was especially true at the place that has the cow urging people to “eat mor chicken.” I love that place and what they are about. In fact, prior to the pandemic, I took all my dates there. If she didn’t like the chicken sandwich, there was no use in getting married. Ah, who am I kidding. No chance of that happening, anyway. Glad that fine dining establishment didn’t depend on me and my dates to make their living. Otherwise, they would have filed for bankruptcy a long time ago. One of my dates even told me to “get lost” there one night. I drowned my sorrows in a sweet tea and waffle fries. My point is, you could go inside at most places. Now, you can’t. No, you have to speak to the talking box.  

Woke up one day last week running late and had to get breakfast on the run. It was raining, so rather than get out and get drenched I pulled in to the drive thru. The drive thru operator was pleasant enough, but this is all I heard.

“Deetcoba kow wow wookie.”

“Say what?,” I said to myself. Myself was the only other person in the car that morning.

Thinking I may somehow have ended up on Tatooine, I looked around for Luke Skywalker or Han Solo, hoping they could translate. Alas, it was still just myself in the car.

I deducted the person in the talking box was talking to me.

“Could you repeat that please?” I asked.

“Jabberwocky iggly biggly whoopsie doo,” was the answer.

Without a translator readily available, I just said to please give me a biscuit and a Coke®. Miraculously, the reply was in English, but the nice lady in the talking box heard something different than what I said.

“I’m sorry sir, but we don’t have fried ice cream and chicken beaks,” she said politely.

So goes my typical experience with drive thrus.

It’s happened to me at the bank. It’s happened to me with talking boxes at department stores. Once I asked for information about where to buy the size “sasquatch” shoes I have to order. The talking box heard and un-helpfully told me it would put me in touch with the lingerie department.

Admittedly, I am technology retarded and mechanically handicapped, but I try to do the best I can in this modern world.  

If we can put a man on the moon and invent the internet, Doritos® and Zax sauce®, surely we can come up with a better way to do drive thrus and the technology of talking boxes.

In the meantime, I’ll still be stuck in the drive thru, trying to figure out what in the world the talking box just said.

• Jason Deal is a news editor for The Blackshear Times. Reach him at jdeal@blacksheartimes.news.