Sunday, July 4, 2010

Vision of a Burger

I was traveling down the ol' highway, when I really began to feel uncomfortable. It might have had to do with the fact that I had to pee real bad, there being no rest stop along the way for the last 150 miles. There is a rest stop -or was one- but it's been closed for over half a year due to a construction project to build a new one in it's place, a project that apparently will take a total of two years to complete. Hey, why shouldn't a taxpayer funded endeavor consisting of a few one story buildings containing a couple of public toilets take longer to erect than the Empire State Building (which went up and was finished in a little over a year)?

I finally had to exit the highway and stop and use a fast food restroom. I'd actually been thinking of stopping anyway, the lure of a cheap burger overwhelming my mind. I'd only had a healthy salad for lunch, and a hamburger was tempting. But I've vowed to eat better, so I brought along my own loaf of sprouted bread, thinking I'd substitute the white flour fast food bun (if I dared to get one) with my healthy bread. Hey, it'd be easy! I would just remove the two hamburger patties, the cheese, the bacon and sauce and pickles...and then place them between two slices of my whole sprouted grain "bread". It's an idea whose time has come.

As I entered the parking lot of the hamburger place, I saw an older man sitting on a rock near the drive-thru lane. He had his head down and looked rather dirty, wearing torn pants and a grimy t-shirt. He was unshaven as well. I thought it could all be part of his panhandling act, but then again, maybe not. Maybe he really was in need. He held a small cardboard sign that said only "Vision of a Burger".

Burger my ass! I thought, probably a wino with visions of a bottle. But I still felt sorry for the guy as I entered the burger building.

After relieving myself in the restroom, I went to the ordering counter. Little pictures of fantastically unreal burger sandwiches filled the menu board that greeted me on the other side of the counter. There was only one woman sweeping the floor, and she ignored me. She looked up and saw me standing there, but said nothing, not even, "Be just a minute, Sir" or "Hold on while I finish sweeping filth into the air so it can contaminate the food more efficiently". No, she just continued her sweeping duties, figuring losing one customer that helps pay her minimum wage paycheck could safely be dismissed.

I left and walked out, going back to my car. In my shirt pocket I'd placed two one dollar bills. This was to make the purchase of my burger faster, but now that I'd bravely walked away from hamburger bliss, I had no reason to leave the money there. I got in my car and began driving away. I removed the bills from my pocket to place them in my car's little coin compartment, when I looked over again at the panhandler. As I drove past, I rolled down my window and stuck my hand out, the one dollar bills in my fingers. The man got up from his rock and rushed over. He took the money and meekly said "Thank you" in a near-whisper. I knew he'd rush inside to get his burger now. After all, he'd been sitting on that rock with a vision of a burger for who knew how long. He must have been been going crazy with hunger, waiting for some noble, caring soul like yours truly to save the day and make that vision a reality. But he went back to sit on his rock. Maybe he needed a few more bucks to buy a decent bottle of booze.

I got back on the highway quite happy, however, knowing I'd contributed to a man's further descent into alcoholic despair, but spared myself the ill effects of an unhealthy fast food meal. What better way to dispose of two nearly worthless Federal Reserve Notes could there be?

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