There wasn’t anything at the house to eat. It was too late to fix anything, but right at the point when I was about to decide to go home and go to bed, I took notice of the Wendy’s. I made an anxious right turn from the left lane headed towards the drive-thru. The Honda didn’t respond the way that I was used to though. It was a bit sluggish; and had been for a while, now that I thought about it. Pulling into the lot, my parents’ voices echoed through my mind, “Reggie, you need a dependable car.”
The Honda had been a great car. It was a gold 1995 two-door Honda Accord that had taken me everywhere I needed to go. Over the last few months though, it had been showing symptoms of meeting its end. However, you always find a way to look past what you don’t want to see; so in my mind, The Honda was practically brand new.
So I pulled up to the drive-thru speaker in my “brand new” battle-scarred Honda and placed my order. “That’ll be $5.35,” the speaker announced. I pulled up to the window and prepared my payment. “Your total is $5.35,” the cashier repeated as I placed a ten-dollar bill in her hand. At that very moment, there was an extremely loud popping sound. The cashier snatched back her arm, and left me wide-eyed and startled. I immediately noticed the heat gauge on the dashboard far into the red area. Still not completely sure of what was happening, I noticed that the cashier was locking and backing away from the window. She was staring at me as if there was a timer on my forehead; and it was ticking down from seven, six, five, four…
At the four count, white smoke enshrouded the front of the car. Not wanting to be inside the car for the final three counts, I undid my seatbelt and launched myself from the passenger side of the car James Bond style. There were now two cars behind mine. The third car in line threw itself in reverse and went out of the parking lot the same way that I came in. I almost suggested for the second car to do the same as I stood in the cold waiting for The Honda to explode. After about thirty seconds of waiting, an explosion never came. I had come to realize that the car had run hot and blew a hose somewhere under the hood. It was steam that was I was seeing; not smoke.
I cautiously made my way back to the car and let it roll into a parking spot. Under the hood it was just as I had suspected; a blown hose that would only take about twenty minutes to replace, and The Honda would be back in action. As I sat in my car to look up the needed parts, my stomach reminded me of why I was here to begin with. I had never received my order, or my change, from the cashier. The drive-thru line had continued. Now all I could hope for is that the cashier had placed my order and change to the side. That way, I would simply walk up to the window, take what was mine, and return to my immobile transportation.
The walk back to the window seemed to take forever. I waited for the car at the window to leave, so that I could jump in front of the next car and sort out the issue with the cashier. As expected, the transaction was nowhere as simple as I had hoped.
“Umm, I ordered a number three and had to pull away because of car issues.” I tried to make it sound as if I didn’t abandon the vehicle in fear of an explosion. The cashier tried to contain her laughter as she looked at me explain the previous events. “See what happened was,” she started with a smile. “In all the commotion, I gave your order to the car that was behind you. I have your change, but you’ll have to place your order again.”
“I just had a medium number three with a coke.”
“Okay, I’ll place that order now,” she said near laughing. “Just wait here so that the cars behind you don’t get your order.” With that, she disappeared out of sight. Another girl peeked from behind a wall at me and quickly retreated in a fit of laughter. It was only the $5.35 keeping me from walking away and leaving the entire situation. I couldn’t wrap my mind around giving away any amount of money over a little embarrassment. I tried to play it cool as if I wasn’t standing at a drive-thru window in front of a line of cars.
However, it got to be too much when I overheard the children in the car behind me. They were chanting, “IN-VIS-ABLE CAR! IN-VIS-ABLE CAR! IN-VIS-ABLE CAR!” I turned to see exactly where the tormenting incantations were coming from as their parents tried to quiet them out of pity for my misfortunes. I gave up. “Forget the food; I’m not even hungry anymore… And the money.” I started walking towards my broken-down Honda. Halfway to the car, I heard the window slide open and, “Sir, here’s your order.” I walked back to snatch the bag and finally make my way to the comforts of my tinted windows.
Until this very day, I still do not visit any drive-thru without checking every gauge on the dashboard.