I am neither proud nor ashamed to tell you that I almost got my ass kicked at Chick fil-A last week.
I’d made, what was supposed to be, a quick Target run at lunch—but 45 minutes and $100 later (I’d gone in for a green Sharpie), I needed to grab a bite and get back to work. For the most part, I can take or leave Chick fil-A, but considering how close it was, and how their spicy chicken sandwich is actually kinda spicy, I headed that way.
I joined the drive-through line, and that’s where the trouble began. It’s one of those poorly planned lots, where the drive-through line prohibits the cars parked there, to exit easily. If drivers aren’t consistently aware of people needing to pull out, it can get dicey.
It got dicey.
But not for the reasons it should have. There I was, sitting contentedly in line, listening to Jason DeRulo, and looking forward to some unhealthy, spicy goodness—when I spotted a car, in one of the bad slots, with its reverse lights on. I saw their intent and delighted in patiently awaiting their exit—happy to make it simple and undramatic for them. I was in a cocoon of happy and wanted to spread good cheer. They were sitting in their car, reverse lights on, waiting on the car in front of me to move up in the line so they could squeeze through us.
Just as that was about to happen, a new car pulled up to the right of me and aggressively angled in at my front, right bumper—as if to say, “That spot is MINE”—to which I thought aloud in my car, “What are you DOING? I don’t want that spot and you need to let her out before you can take over, you greedy, impatient nit-wit.”
Then, she inched even CLOSER to me, like centimeters from my car. In hindsight, I wish my car had a nice, friendly warning horn, but like every other car on the planet, it only has the loud, yelling kind. Regardless, I had no other recourse, so I honked.
Side Note: If horns could speak, mine would have said, “Hey pretty lady, that spot is ALL yours, but you’re about to get hit, because she’s backing up—so save yourself!”
In much the same way she maneuvered her car in for her anticipated lunch, things took a sharp left turn.
She swiveled her head to me and threw her hands up—while her mouth made reptilian yelling motions. Because I was still on a Target high, and within minutes of my sandwich, I stayed calm and pointed to the car wanting to come out—and made a motion that I thought said, A: I come in peace. B: In your haste to dine, you must not have seen the Corolla’s reverse lights.
It was instantly apparent that she mistook my friendly warning as something far more hostile, because her neck veins and eyebrows joined her mouth in the yelling motions. Then she rolled down her window to, I assumed, tell me a thing or two. I Penelope’d her and rolled mine down faster.
Side Note: An angry confrontation with a Looney Toon—in a fast food parking lot—is not my idea of a good time, but I felt it was important to meet her aggressiveness step for step. I’ve also never been afraid to do a little time.
She barked out something about me honking and demanded to know what my problem was. I refrained from telling her my only problem was Chick fil-A’s decision to sell waffle fries instead of real ones. I calmly said I was trying to give her a heads-up about the car that was about to back in to her—and pointed out that they were still waiting to get on with their day.
She started to yell something else, then stopped and looked towards the Chick fil-A door. I turned to look the same direction and was met by the visual of Big Bubba, waddling out the door and also demanding to know what the funk I was honking at.
Side Note: 2 things. Funk is replacing its real-deal cousin in this story. Also, these two clowns probably have y’all thinking I laid on the horn like an instigator, and kept at it. No. It was the quickest beep a car can execute.
Because I have good manners and cockpit-level skills, I rolled down my window for my discussion with Big Bubba—while simultaneously rolling up my window to shut out his little lady. I’ve watched enough crime shows to know not to leave an opening for a sneak attack by a woman who’s hangry. He stayed on the Chick fil-A entrance step, so he was far enough away from me that I had no fear of getting snatched out of my car by my hair—like I have no doubt he wanted to do.
So again, he insisted on knowing what the funk I was honking at—with animated arms. I said, “Are you being serious?” I asked this in reference to the surprising escalation of anger over something so inconsequential.
He said, “You damn right I’m serious! What the funk are you honking at my wife for?!”
I said, “First of all, it’s ‘you’re’ damn right, not ‘you’ damn right, and you need to chill out a degree or two. Secondly, I was only trying to let her know that Corolla was about to back into her. That was clearly not welcome—my bad—you can go rejoin your chicken nuggets.”
“Well don’t funking honk at her again. You need to move the funk on. Get funking moving.”
It actually was my turn to inch up, so I did, and said, “Chivalry really isn’t dead. You should be so proud.”
He said, “Oh I am! I am funking proud!”
At that point, I’d moved up probably two car lengths and I was two cars away from actually getting to place my order. Then I saw wifey walking toward me. I rolled down the window and she said, “WHY you were honking at me, and why you were flailing your arms like this and why you weren’t getting out of the way?” (She started doing some kind of wild-arm dance that was wholly unflattering and not at all representative of my simple pointing motion.)
“That doesn’t look like anything I’ve ever done with my arms … and out of the way? Where did you want me to go?! I already told you, I honked to let you know that car was about to back into you—it wasn’t appreciated—noted. Move on and get back to your hot date with that knight in shining armor.”
“Yeah, you move on. And funk you. And GOD BLESS!”
She said it, y’all. She really said God Bless. It’s like for a fraction of a second, as she was wheeling around, she spied the Chick fil-A sign and wished to remain in good standing.
I laughed and said, “Classy. You and your husband are a delight.”
She flipped me the bird and stomped in. I’m sure they had a super romantic lunch.
The truth is, I have absolutely zero doubt that if I hadn’t been in my car, she’d have wanted to actually fight. Like, with fists. Or hair-pulling. Whatever it is that people who get mad enough to fight do. I just don’t get that level of mad.
Side Note: Years ago, Jocelyn, my sister, my sister-in-law and I took a boxing class. We mostly did it for exercise, but we also thought it was kind of cool to do something different from aerobics or kick-boxing. We learned all kinds of techniques and punching series—and got in decent shape.
One night at class, the instructor talked to me about competing. I wanted to hit the floor laughing. I knew I was pretty good at the technical stuff and picked things up quickly, but compete? As in, go into a ring and try to win a fight with another living person? No way, no how—I didn’t have the gene required to want to hurt someone or beat them, just for the sake of fitness. I just didn’t.
But someone did—my sister-in-law. We got to the point in class where it was time to spar. He paired us up and told us to get gloved. We were spread out around the mat and told we’d spar for three minutes. I was thinking, “Well this should be fun—dancing around, avoiding contact for 180 seconds.”
The bell rang and we bobbed around for no more than four seconds, before she punched me square in my mouth. Hard.
Here is my point, I’m probably never going to want to physically fight someone. I think I could hold my own in a lot of circumstances, but it’s just comical to even think about it. But this Chick fil-A dope wanted to fight me over a horn! A horn that was intended for good!
I got back to work and was a little amped up. One of my co-workers was like, “Good lunch?” I said, “Yeah, considering I just avoided a beat down.”
I’ll now take this time to answer some FAQs that I’ve conjured up in my head.
Q: You know that could have gone terribly wrong, right?
A: I do.
Q: You know people get shot over stupid stuff like this, right?
A: I do.
Q: You know it makes people 10x madder when you greet their anger calmly—and with jokes, right?
A: I do.
Q: You know a lot of people actually love waffle fries, right?
A: I do.
The whole scene lasted about a minute and a half, and it ended with all of us getting our sought-after lunch. So all-in-all, it wasn’t such a bad outing.
If either of you whiners are reading this, don’t bother looking for me. I now live in a remote corner of Alaska, where I have become a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I live near my uncles—Big Paulie, Fat Tony and Joe the Ice-Man Barber.