Awesome Relief by a Yield Sign
My "no chain restaurants" rule doesn't apply while on the road. You never know when you'll end up at an eating establishment whose house chef is a modern-day Typhoid Madge or Sal Monella. I abandoned the practice of supporting local eateries in little shit-villes when I drove across Canada years back and dined at an Italian/Chinese establishment. The first clue that I should leave came when the waitress (obviously not Chinese) grimaced in disgust when I ordered the egg drop soup.
No. I usually wait until I've reached a major metropolitan area before I resume my culinary elitism. Until then, I'll join the massive masses of massive Americans at the ubiquitous corporate restaurants that dot the landscape. In fact, I commented to my wife that one of the prime reasons I wouldn't live in one of these insignificant burgs is the lack of diversity in restaurants. Here, Perkins is actually a treat while... Creme Brulee? Isn't that one of those French porn stars?
The other prime reason is that I am an ethnic variation that probably wouldn't be too popular in middle-America. A dozen years ago my brother and I drove across the country. While eating at a locally owned restaurant in the middle of Michigan, my brother looked up from his omelette, gasped and said "Come rapido!" (eat fast). I looked up to see a calendar, featuring Ronald Reagan with an American flag backdrop. We high-tailed it out of there, leaving our 6'5" Germanic looking waitress a reasonable tip.
While on travels, I usually hold out for a Pizza Slut. I justify this choice because a) it doesn't involve hambuger meat and b) you know exactly what you're getting when you order it. Forget KFC (Kill F*cking Chickens), Popeye's and Chick Fil A, too. Pizza Slut is usually the way to go on our venture through Virginia, though my wife was regretting the choice yesterday.
We got friendly service, the kids could sream to their heart's content, and the food was likely to be palatable. Everything went as planned until we started back on the road. I felt something brewing down below, making my stomach feel like one of those little push toys with the little colored popcorn balls in the glass dome. I turned to my wife and said, "This isn't good. I'm feeling one of those 'oooh-oooh' moments." The "oooh-oooh" moment alludes to a story my wife shared about my father-in-law and the turd that almost got away.
F*ck, I thought. I hate crapping on the road. It's bad enough taking a piss at one of those restaurants and looking down to see your loose shoelace sitting in a puddle of redneck urine. Now I had to press ham at one of these johns.
As we neared the exit I saw the choices. Hurriedly I asked my wife, "Where do you think? Taco Bell or McDonald's?"
"I don't know," came her terse response.
I reasoned that less people frequent Taco Hell, so chances were that the bathroom was in better condition.
"Why don't you just go here?" she said, pointing at Arby's.
Arby's - 0.3 miles. That's my baby. I hadn't been in one in over 15 years, but the situation was dire.
"Are you going to order something?" my wife asked as I dashed for the door. I shook my index finger to indicate "no" as I bolted through the door, and acknowledged the clerk behind the cashier as she said 'hello'.
I went right for the bathroom and unleashed what might be construed as an "intestinal clearance sale." Everything must go! The smell permeated the room with a scent that the devil's breath couldn't outdo. I flushed the transgression and wiped repeatedly. I had to work fast. The longer you spend in there, the more likely everyone in the joint knows you just came here to shit. Piss you could do in 45-60 seconds... Anything beyond that is defecation territory.
I washed my hands and sauntered out of the can, feeling obliged somehow to actually make a purchase. After desecrating the sanctity of their toilet, It was the least I could do.
"Ummmm, I'll have a Sprite."
"Any thing else?"
"Umm... No thank you."
On the way out, I noticed a bell by the door with a sign underneath that read "Ring the bell if we have made your day."
With a slight chuckle I returned to the car.
"How was it?" my wife asked.
"It was a Jabberwock shit. It burbled as it came."
"Eww. You're gross."
I think I'm going to my grave wishing I had rung that bell.