There I stood, pink smoothie in hand, alternating between freeze headaches and the pleasure of the cold drink on a hot day. The inside of the McDonald’s had been too cold, and after the glorious reward of a Big Mac, large fries, and DP, There was no better place to bask in the sun and slurp than outside the entrance, next to my bike.
I’d been pedaling for four hours and had earned that Big Mac. The sugar, the salt, the thick grease, the fake vegetables piled into the fake bread were so glorious, a sensation of lovely poison that few things will ever equal. Ravenous hunger slaked with fast food is the second best feeling there is.
As I stood there, a minivan pulled up from the drive thru window and stopped next to me instead of going straight and exiting onto arrow highway. I looked at the driver, who had her arm draped in the door, and her passenger. The lady’s forearm was larger than my thigh and her multi chin spilled onto the enormous pillow growing out of her chest.
Rolls hung off her forehead, and tiny eyes, deeply sunk, briefly took me in. She was about my age and her passenger, perhaps her mother, was equally covered in blankets and layers of natural insulation.
In short, typical McDonald’s customers.
I finished my smoothie and leaned over to unlock my bike. That’s when the front door to the McDonald’s opened and a worker staggered out carrying what can only be described as a modified McDonald’s garbage bag with a big plastic handle. It took both hands and she groaned under the weight of her load.
That’s when I understood what was going on. The lady had ordered so much food that it couldn’t be handed off through the drive thru window, windows that are basically big enough for a horse to walk through. Indeed, the bag was so large that the employee could barely get it into the open window, and it wasn’t helped by the lady’s huge arms.
A wrestling shoving pushing match ensued where they thrust and crammed the bag in between the dash the breasts the arms the chins and the windshield so violently that I actually felt sorry for the dead meat inside the bag.
Of course it could have been accomplished with much less violence by simply opening the massive sliding door and setting the trash bag on the seat but then the patrons wouldn’t have been able to do what came next: shove their fists, and practically their faces, into the trash bag and begin strangling French fries, which they did with the gusto of prisoners breaking a fast.
The implications staggered me. The trash bag meant that this was a regular thing for countless customers. And it was 11:30 AM; there was no way this was their first meal of the day. And the contents had to have cost at least $70. And it’s wasn’t going to be their last meal of the day either, or even of the afternoon.
Our eyes meet ever so briefly, mine shocked, hers defiant. “What are you looking at, boy? Haven’t you ever seen someone eat a trash bag’s worth of junk food?”
When I recounted the story to Wily, he said, “You don’t just get like that. It takes years and years of hard work and tens of thousands of dollars. And you know something else? They have never been hungry.”
“How do you figure? They almost chewed their own fingers off getting those fries into the glory hole.”
“They have never exited the state off being fed. There is never a moment in their lives when their stomachs and intestines haven’t been filled, absolutely filled, with food. You can’t feel real hunger that way, only the psychological craving of the drug.”
“Can we change the name?” I asked.
“The State of Fed.”