You’d be hard pressed to hear me criticize McDonald’s. (Who’s got the best fries, right)? Wasn’t crazy about the giant corporation, but I worked for a fabulous owner/operator for several years. I’ve blogged about both the job and ‘da owner, so I won’t rehash that story. Suffice it to say it was great working for him. I was just a lowly crew person but I loved it. If you wanna catch up on the years I was with McDonald’s, here ‘ya go. http://dvb517.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-boss.html
A couple weeks ago I wrote about some of the odd adventures on my (mostly fabulous) walking path I utilize everyday. My biggest concerns are stones that find their way on the blacktop path from the road’s shoulder, where I have the unlucky knack of placing one foot or the other in exactly the wrong spot resulting in a nasty spill. I use a walking stick which helps, but I’m constantly watching the path right in front of me to ensure I make it back home sans injuries for another day. Another dicey concern is how close the walking path is to the road at times, which is busy with distracted drivers and has a speed limit of 50.
A couple days after posting that story, I was on the last leg of my walk (3/4 mile from home) when I heard sirens. I’m profoundly deaf so I’m listening to funky music through headphones which are pretty jacked up. (I’ve tried several varieties of ear buds. I hear nothing through the left one and the sound in my right ear is like someone provided me with with a string and 2 cans. One can is at the bottom of the pond and the other is hooked over my ear. Tinny, muffled, garbled are all appropriate adjectives that fit).
I have an awful time differentiating which direction noise is coming from but soon see a couple sheriff’s department vehicles and an ambulance zoom past me from behind. When I’m about a half mile away I notice all cars/trucks are hitting their brakes. Soon I see what has caused the ruckus. A tan Ford Bronco has jumped the curb and is resting smack-dab on the walking path right in front of McDonald’s. Had I been 6-8 minutes earlier the tan Bronco would be sporting a mega sized, white haired hood ornament. Namely me.
Before the Ford got to his embarrassing resting spot, he hit a smaller SUV (with considerable force) who was trying to turn into the entrance of McDonald’s. That poor dude got hit so hard, it was resting in the south lane. Upside down. A deputy noticed me slowing down, (hard to notice, I walk the speed of sloth) ambled over as I was taking off my headphones and said, “ma’am, could you either turn around or use McDonald’s parking lot to get to the corner?” “Sure, no problem.”
This particular ‘still frame’ remained etched in my head for several days. You just can’t help but think-I’ve walked that exact spot hundreds of times. My number would have been up for sure and it wouldn’t have been pretty. Yikes. (Why did I not take a picture? I’m the only person who never takes pictures of these moments as they happen. There was nothing gory to see as I approached).
Three days a week I see a couple guys about my age (Lord they seem much older but gotta admit they probably aren’t. Sigh). They drive to McDonald’s, park their car and walk part of the path. I usually stop and talk for a minute (goes against everything I believe in about my walking protocol, but they are nice and I’m trying to be kind. It’s a stretch. The struggle is real). I usually pass them going in one direction or the other which is astonishing. But I’ll take it.
Just a few days after the Mc-upside-down-car vs. Dude-I’ll-park-on-the-Mc-sidewalk-and-show-you fiasco, I’m nearing the two gents, about to overtake them with my great speed and agility, so I give them a hearty hello and zip right by them. I have Meniere’s which causes fluctuations in my inner ear, causing balance issues, so I use a walking stick to help steady me. Meniere’s usually affects one side of your head/ear. Mine causes a lot of racket in my left ear, leaving it virtually useless other than keeping my glasses on my mug straight. Looking right causes no problems but glancing left is better served when I come to a complete stop and slowly turn my head back and forth.
As I’m closing in on the McDonald’s drive through entrance I glance up to make sure no one is in the middle turn lane on the road, then make a quick swipe left to eliminate someone from behind who might have their blinker on and turn in front of me. (I know the pedestrian has the right of way but there are numerous walkers, joggers, bikers, runners who are dead from having the right of way). I step from the walking path to the McDonald’s cement entrance and get about 2/3 the way across when my peripheral vision picks up something huge on my left side. I pause, look left and a car has run into the curb, six feet from where I stand. I look at the driver who gives me a scathing look and throws up his arms in disgust. What the hell! How could he not see me? I’m as big as a barn and wearing a bright salmon colored jacket.
I start walking again, glancing right at the McDonald’s exit (some of these folks have come close to hitting me too. They’re digging in their McDonald’s bag for the hash browns and bacon, egg and cheese biscuit and don’t always remember to look both ways as they stop (or not) to avoid adding me to part of the Walking Dead outtakes). I stop at the corner, look both ways, cross, happy to have 3 more blocks before home. But I’m shaken up as I relay the story to Hubs.
Two days later I bump into the two walking dudes and both hold up a hand, indicating ‘stop woman.’ “Ah, after you went ahead of us on Monday, do you realize how close that car came to hitting you?” “No not really until after I got home. Looked pretty close from behind did it?” “Yeah, lucky he ran into the curb. Guess he didn’t see you until he was turning in.” (Oh my goodness. Thanks God).
After confirming the car nearly hit me, I couldn’t stop stewing about another close call on my seemingly safe, carefree walking path. There must be some way to eliminate all these hazardous crossings which seem determined to undermine my wellbeing from day to day. There is a second exit at the back of McDonald’s lot which I walk past everyday. I could just bypass the front entrance and exit. It would mean walking the perimeter of McDonald’s parking lot. Since COVID the parking lot is nearly empty because the dining room is not open. Some customers do go into the lobby and order, so there are a few cars in the lot but 90% use the drive through lane. I would be sharing the front entrance for a few feet to get back on the walking path, but it would be off to the side and head on from my view.
I hashed it over with Hubs and decided that’s what I’d try. Can’t imagine anyone from the store confronting me about walking in their lot for 2 minutes and no one has this week. A maintenance man was cleaning/sweeping the lot one morning and said good morning. Have gotten a couple strange looks from customers who run in for food, then eat in their car. Must feel like I’m intruding or invading their space. I try not to make eye contact because I’m concerned what lies ahead for my feet, but also keeping a watchful eye on cars that might be backing up. That would just be my luck, right?