Tuesday, January 9, 2007

MacDonald's and grace

I had to go to the supermarket, there was nothing to eat and my son with a cough and a cold needing things to take back to university with him. En route to the little town, just coming to the bypass, I knew I was sliding into a blood sugar low and remembered I hadn’t eaten for some hours. Moments later a terrible craving came upon me for food. I do not absorb nutrients efficiently so this is common. I picture slabs of fish, meat, cheese – protein. I will do what is necessary to get it, if I don’t it is a bad outlook (I shiver, change colour and am best avoided). Last year, after teaching the two-hour class that was fifty-minutes drive from my home, it would be a toss-up between racing to the nearest garage for food or putting my foot down to get home. The food won and I would sit in the car by a petrol pump cramming it in before racing home to sleep like the dead for three hours.

I say I am one of the lucky ones and it is so, the heroes being those who are mostly house or bed-bound and either finding a living source within even so, or that the illness overwhelms them. I have been there and take nothing for granted.

So it was that I zoomed into a MacDonald’s drive-through place and ordered a double cheeseburger and medium coffee. Like others in the right-thinking universe I avoid the place, but it is cheap and quick and gives you an instant hit. The woman handing out the wrapped cheeseburger at window no. 4 asked if I wanted sugar with my coffee. I said yes and crammed the burger into my mouth. She smiled and asked how many, I said one. She fished around and held out her palm in which there were two paper tubes of sugar and a wooden stick to stir with, and she gave me a wide-open smile from her eyes. I took it in with the first mouthful I swallowed and it was good. “One extra for luck,” she said. “You look hungry.” She had a good voice too. Kind. I said I was, very hungry, but this would make it better. She looked pleased. Someone drove up behind and I moved on. I drank the coffee in the supermarket carpark. I had both sugars. Sometimes life is so sweet. So good.


nmj said...

hey reading the signs, thanks for coming to my blog, been trying to comment on yours today, i really like the feel of it, always nice to discover new and interesting voices . . . yes, that having to eat RIGHT NOW thing has had me buy many bars of chocolate and wolf them down in the street.

Reading the Signs said...

nmj thanks - I've enjoyed yours, and the novel excerpts.
Chocolate occupies a special place in my life. I am delighted to hear that it is now considered to be beneficial to health.

Liz said...

Today I was rushing to get the bus on my way home from work and I stopped short in the street--a difficult decision to make--either dash into Boots and grab anything to eat--pretzels, sandwhich, gum, something to chew on, anything ANYTHING!!!--or catch the next bus. As it was pouring rain, the bus won out, but barely. I clenched my teeth the whole way home, imagining the food waiting in my fridge. When I arrived back, I was four slices into a salami before I remembered I'm a vegetarian.

I appreciate your honesty about the visit to the wretched golden arches...but I would be lying if I said I hadn't done the same. Only last week as I passed by one on the way home from the beach, 20 minutes still left to go, I wondered if I should stop for some plastic food, anything to stave off the crazy woman who shouts at people...the one that comes out with the blood sugar drop. Glad to hear you have moments of extra sugar, thin burgers, and though I hate the fast food joints at heart, here's to all the drive thru food places between where we are and where we're going.

Reading the Signs said...

and here's to the kindness of strangers, which is what made the stuff somehow better than it should have been.

Just a niggle of a question here: what's a vegetarian doing with a salami in the fridge?