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Yesterday I went to Wendy's (drive-thru because it smells like grease and corn chips in there). When I was ordering I would alternate between screaming a food item at the speaker, checking the new total, then glancing at the fiver in my wallet. Up, down, back, repeat. I had already decided to cut out the drink because I didn't think I was going to have enough for the biggie fries and I am completely helpless in the face of those delicious taters. She read me my total when I had finished ordering and glancing, and lo and behold I still had room for a medium drink. I asked her if I could add on a medium Pibb (formerly Mr. Pibb but changed due to drastically clever feminist plan to overthrow the evil soda chauvinist's regime), please, mam. She said, "You sure can." In a voice that was obviously smiling and you could tell that she was really a nice lady which is even more surprising in fast food where the average customer hates your guts just because they need to feel superior about being a janitor at Whole Foods. I smiled because of her audible smile, and then I sat listening to Postal Service and then Sun Ra while I waited in line. I thought about how much I like my truck. And I thought about how I bet that woman is really nice to her kids and how I have always wanted a black grandmother who would call me Baby or Sugar in that syrupy sweet voice and would kiss me on the forehead when she hugged me, smelling of dough and honey and salt. When I got to the drive-thru window I watched the woman at the headset register and she seemed tired, slightly confused, a little nervous, but somehow confident and strong and happy through all of that. Like sure this job isn't great and it's stressful but when I leave here I am going home to love and a life that I am proud of even if it is hard sometimes. I didn't even realize that I had been smiling so much from thinking about all of this, but when she opened the window to get my cash and hand me my food she saw me smiling. She handed me back my change and really smiled back at me and said that I should have a great night, meaning it. And I said thank you, mam...meaning it. She knew just why I was smiling, and it's not often that complete strangers understand each other so well. It's nice to talk to someone, even if we didn't say much, and mean it.


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