Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tea Time

Two nights ago, I was faced with the strangest question I've ever been asked in my life.
How many pumps of liquid sugar do you want?
Now even in context, that's a weird question, as I'll explain.  Out of context it deserves to take its rightful place in the "That's What She Said" Michael Scott Hall of Fame.
Here's the context:
I'm lazy, at least 40% of the time, on a good day.  The good days include the days I make it to my newly regimented gym visits.  On a bad day, I'm lazy 75% of the time.  I have yet to be able to achieve 100% laziness, which I define as never leaving the confines of one's apartment and even that is only achieved because I'm too lazy to go grocery shopping so I usually have only stale cereal and crumbling granola bars to eat, unless I leave the house, or pay someone to basically be my home care assistant by dropping off my food at my door.  I'm also terrified that spending one entire day indoors will only lead me down the slippery hermitic wormhole that eventually turns into me peeing in the plastic mason jars I got from 7-11 this summer.  If it can be avoided, I would prefer not to go full Howard Hughes.  So I stave off this horrifying possible future by at least getting in my car once a day, sometimes only just to go to a drive-thru.
About six months ago, as a result of these excursions, I realized I was becoming addicted to McDonald's Sweet Tea.  This isn't going to be one of those get healthy posts that tells you I eventually mended my ways and saw my errors and cut sugar.  Nope, no such will power for me.  Instead, about once a week, I indulge my inner saccharine beast and allow it to grow as it feeds on the sweet nectar of fructose.  The addiction has gotten to the point where, when I go to take my first eagerly-anticipated sip to take that first step towards Sugar High Mountain, that, when faced with the fact that they have filled my giant Styrofoam cup (sorry, not sorry future Earth generations) with UNSWEETENED tea, I recoil in horror.  I contemplate throwing it out or parking and going in and having them actually fill it correctly, but really, I just went through a drive-thru.  If I had the energy for that kind of fight, I'd have gone in in the first place.  Instead I sip it sadly, longing for the moment I'll get my next hit and knowing, inevitable, that it really WILL taste that much sweeter.
So, two nights ago, I pulled around, placed my order in front of the mechanical mouth, pulled around to pay at the first window and then pulled up to retrieve my fix.  At the second window I was met with a pleasant enough employee who asked, with all the musicality of a Valley girl from 1984 sent to the future "we're out of sweet tea, how many pumps of liquid sugar do you want? We usually put in 7".
Now I was caught off guard, for several reasons.  Chief among them being that this is THIRD step in the process.  I'd made it PAST the Electronic Voice obstacle AND past the Gimme My Two Dollars line.  That's more than half the battle. NOWHERE along the way was I informed that utter defeat would be the definite outcome of this endeavor.  Then there's the fact that I was faced with a decision that had to be made on the spot.  HOW MANY PUMPS?! Dear god, if I said I wanted 8, they'd think me some sort of hideous piece of humanity, only worthy of a drive thru.  Their reaction might sound like "sure," but what it'd really be saying is "how do you even have the strength to look at yourself in the mirror you sugar consuming anomaly?" If I only go with 2 pumps, well, why even bother specifying sweet tea in the first place?!  THERE WAS NO RIGHT ANSWER.  Finally, when confronted with the true nature of what the Sweet Tea was, I momentarily hesitated.  I've been putting at least 7 pumps of liquid sugar in to my body with each disturbingly large cupful, and it was something I didn't want reminding of.  It was almost as if she had said to me, "how much charred, dead cow flesh do you want added to your bun".  No, don't do that.  Don't rip away the veil of ignorance that allows me to sleep at night for going to a drive thru you teen demon!  Let me keep my blissful unawareness as I sip my sadness through a straw in peace, dammit!
After processing all of this in 10 seconds I muttered..."uuughhh four. Four pumps, thanks".  Four was a nice number.  It didn't make me seem like a fiend, but it also said 'I'm here for the sweetness, bring it".  I was handed my cup, which let's face it, normal human hands can't even wrap fully around, and took the first sip.  It almost tasted just right.  Yes, four pumps was the right answer.  I had done it!  Three sips later, all taste had disappeared.  The only thing left was a slight bitterness that was the equivalent of tasting nothing at all.  What was the point?  I had lost my battle after all.  I'd betrayed myself by trying to make it look as if I didn't need that sugar after all. I'm a stronger person, I told myself, I'm a four pump kind of girl (I quickly rewound that though in my mind and replaced it with 'I only need four pumps of liquid sugar in my tea to be happy' because you can't just go around saying things like 'I'm a four pump kind of girl') But I'm not.  At my weakest, drive-thru self, I know I'll always be, at least a 7-pump kind of woman. Well,you know what I mean.  All I'm asking is that you don't remind me of it at 9pm.  The day's been long enough already.  Don't make me choose, that's not what a drive-thru is for.  Just hand over the sugar and foam and let a girl be on her way.

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