I’d been craving a hamburger since before Christmas, so I finally gave into it the other night.
I ordered at the drive-thru, and my vittles came to $4.41. For once, the speaker was delightfully clear with nary an ounce of static, and the gal inside was articulate — although incredibly distracted by someone talking to her and laughing in the background. I pulled up to the window and gave her $5.41.
She was rummaging in the till for what seemed like an eternity; the sound of coins accumulating in her hand made me wonder if I was going to get my dollar back in pennies.
“Here’s your change of $0.99,” she said to me.
“I gave you $5.41. The total was $4.41,” I said, raising an eyebrow at her handful of change.
“No, you didn’t give me the right amount,” she said. The guy in the background was still vying for her attention and talking to her.
I explained that I did, in fact, give her $5.41. “There’s no way I’d want you to give me $0.99 back. Trust me on this.”
(And, by the way, if I did happen to be a penny short, wouldn’t you say to the person giving you the incorrect amount, “Hey, do you have another penny, by chance?”)
“Oh! So your change would’ve been an exact dollar,” she said.
I love it when a light goes off. I nodded and smiled at her.
“So…can I just give you another penny then?” she asked me.
“I’d prefer you didn’t,” I said with a laugh.
At that point, I’d have taken four quarters, but I ended up getting my dollar bill and finally pulled forward for my grub. I was handed a bag, thanked and then the window shut. I stayed put. The window opened again.
“Can I get the drink, too?” I asked.
“She didn’t give it to you at the first window?”
Sigh. Oh, that crazy first window.
The week had been a long one, and the day had dragged on forever with a good dose of stress added in, as well. But it was Friday, and the weekend was before me. I had no energy to deliver any frustration, so I didn’t. And really, who would get nasty over incorrect change and a missing beverage? Oh, right. A lot of people would.
The first window reminded me that while you can move on from one issue, another might be lurking just ahead. Sometimes it takes driving away and leaving the vicinity entirely to reflect on how else things could’ve gone, say, if someone else had been in my shoes. But after a week that left me without an ounce of fight, I was glad for the stress it had given me. I didn’t know it at the time, but it left me mellow, ready for nothing more than a burger and bed, and looking forward to the weekend.
Tonight I see the big picture, and I am thankful for last week’s stress.