Saturday, 29 December 2007


Just time to relate a scary and hilarious middle-aged moment. Driving back from my son Ed's soccer tournament, and he is starving. Dad, I'm soooooo hungry, he moans from the front seat. My poor little boy! I investigate my pockets and come up with kleenex, gum, and a parking ticket. Not a lot of nourishment in any of them. So we take the next turn off, and find a fast food megaplex: five or six outlets, each with their own drive thru. In effect it's a food court only you don't have to leave your car. Pick one, I say.
It's dark, and raining, and my windshield wipers don't work very well.
I don't care, he says ... only of course he does, and as I pull up to the place-your-order microphone at McDonald's he says, No, not McDonalds, and so I keep going and when I get to Wendy's he says, No, not Wendy's, and I keep going, around the outside of the complex. There! says Ed, but I don't see. He points through the fogged windshield. There's a Tim's, he says. I want a toasted bagel with cream cheese. And a sprinkle donut. And chocolate milk. So I pull up to the next microphone, roll down my window in the streaming rain, and proceed to place my order. What size chocolate milk? I turn back to ask. Ed is staring at me. His lip is quivering. Dad, he says. You are talking to the trash can.
And so I am. There's a picture of a donut and coffee on it, so I guess it looks something like the thing you order into. But not very much. It's a trash can all right. Just like this one.

Oh, my. I have a picture of myself a few seconds ago, a dad in the rain, talking earnestly into an open trash can, and lose it. It's not like I'm turning into my own father here -- I've bypassed him and gone straight to Mr Magoo. I begin to sputter. Ed of course is laughing heartily beside me. This is definitely a story for the whole family.
I pull ahead to the real order microphone, and almost lose it again. The lady behind the window asks if I'm all right. I don't know, I say.
The Chinese pictograms for crisis and opportunity are famously linked. (I recall Homer Simpson using the term crisitunity.) I wonder if there is a similar relationship between pictograms for amusing and horrifying?


Marilyn said...

That is too funny!! But I wouldn't worry too much unless it starts talking back.

Anonymous said...

Oh My God, Richard, that is so funny it brought tears to my eyes!! SO something I would do (I blame it conveniently on lack of sleep).

Richard Scrimger said...

Glad I can provide a humour moment for you guys. I myself was as much horror-struck as amused. RS

Sandra Love Nichol said...

Funny! Just imagine what Marty may have done. S

Richard Scrimger said...

Marty would have laughed too. And he'd have been right. RS

CresceNet said...

Gostei muito desse post e seu blog é muito interessante, vou passar por aqui sempre =) Depois dá uma passada lá no meu site, que é sobre o CresceNet, espero que goste. O endereço dele é . Um abraço.

Richard Scrimger said...

Hey, my first Portuguese comment. I had to publish it, especially after I translated the opening as: "I very liked this post and very interesting its blog é, I go to pass for here always =)"

Anonymous said...


That gives talking trash a whole new meaning.

Happy New Year!


The Perpetual Expatriate said...

Laughing so much from over here in Switzerland. Snow and cold weather outside but this post has warmed the cockles of me' heart.

This could easily have been me at the wheel... (except there are no drive through restaurants here) but no matter, it's a story that translates across the pond for all of us of a certain age with teenagers.