Friday, April 20, 2007

unlikely praise

I ate at McDonald's today. I generally try to avoid fast food, but the convenience of the golden arches has been irresistible these past couple weeks, as I've started tutoring on Friday evenings (woohoo!...) and the tutorial center just happens to be in close proximity to a McDonald's.

After today's dining experience, I have two items of praise for the fast food mega chain. First is for the Big N' Tasty, which was just introduced here this year. My sister was the first to recommend it to me. I was surprised by what a good burger it is... reminds me a lot of an In-N-Out cheeseburger, and that's saying a lot.

While searching for the above picture, I came across this very funny (and relevant!) SNL transcript.

Before my second word of praise, I should explain that the McDonald's that I went to today was very crowded. I had to walk up some stairs in search of a seat, and while walking up said stairs, I watched in dismay as my coke sailed off the tray and landed upside-down on the floor, where it ended in an explosion of carbonation. Realizing the dangers of the liquid-stair combination, I immediately alerted a McDonald's employee to the spill. She got a colleague to help her with the clean-up, and to my pleasant surprise, quickly returned with a new coke for me. How nice! Thus, my second word of praise: for service.

So, those are my two items of praise for McD's. On a somewhat amusing sidenote, since the restaurant was so crowded, I did not have the luxury of a table to myself. I noticed a friendly-looking older gentleman sitting alone, and asked if I could sit at his table. He cheerfully complied. Following what I believed to be sitting-at-a-table-with-a-stranger protocol, I limited my interaction with the man to a couple grateful smiles before starting my meal. But as I was eating my Big N' Tasty, I could tell that he was watching me with some interest. My first thought was that he was probably amazed at how quickly I was devouring my burger, or that I had some of the special sauce smeared across my chin. But after a while, I got the feeling that he was waiting for an opportunity to say something to me. And sure enough, as soon as I made eye-contact, he burst into a question in Chinese. I didn't understand anything, except for a "yi sup" at the end, which I understood to mean "twenty." And as if to clear up any doubt in my mind, he went on to say "twenty" in English. Assuming that I'd understood his question, I shook my head and said, "No, twenty-six." He responded with an emphatic "Oh!" and that was the end of our conversation, and almost the end of our interaction, except for an exchange of smiles when he got up to leave soon after. I don't know why the whole experience seemed so funny to me, but it did.

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