I grew up in southern California. Down there, so it seems, there isn’t a spot of land that isn’t built on or around. Strip malls run supreme and drive-thrus aren’t hard to come by. Deciding which one to go to, however, is a little more difficult.
Shortly after college, I moved to Marin and one of the things I noticed right away was the absence of available drive-thru fast food restaurants. I lived in Larkspur at the time and San Rafael was the closest I could get my fast food fix. Back then it seemed to me that Marinites were overly conscious of the negative health effects of eating fast food and had created strict zoning laws to prevent drive-thrus from popping up everywhere. I was annoyed, amazed, and embarrassed at the lengths I had to go for my grease.
Nowadays I don’t eat fast food like I used to so worrying about where I’m going to go or how I’m going to get it isn’t so much of a concern. Most of the fast food chains we have in town are those that I will barely allow my children an ice cream cone from. Within the last year or so, I’ve justified In and Out Burger as being the lesser of the evils. But I think that is just what I’ve told myself to make me feel better about what I’m giving my children. I’m sure that after I post this someone will send me some online article about pink slime and further discourage ground beef eating all together no matter where it comes from.
Last week, a friend of mine raised the question on Facebook as to why there can’t be any healthy fast food options for us parents? Her thoughts were met with the battle cries from all her mom friends like me who have often wondered that same exact question. It is such a pain to have to get everyone out of the car especially if they have fallen asleep. They say to “let sleeping babies lie” right?
Harper just turned 7-weeks-old and I am struggling to get anything done because she won’t let me put her down even to sleep. As I write this long overdue blog, she is sleeping on my chest as I type with the laptop propped up on my knees. So I have been thinking a lot about how things could get done more simply if I never had to get my four kids out of the car.
In addition to healthy food options to grab at a drive thru, the past few weeks have had me wishing for the following: a drive-thru bank, drive-thru preschool drop-off, drive-thru doctor’s office visits, drive-thru coffee (oh, wait, we have that), drive-thru hardware stores, etc. While I might just as well get a babysitter so I can get my errands done without bringing the kids, sometimes that just isn’t an option for financial or other reasons. Instead of the alternative of taking all the kids into the store with me, I’ve often wished that there were some sort of on-call button I could push so someone would come wait in the car with them. Although there is Raley’s E-cart and online delivery for many stores, sometimes you just want to pick out your own produce.
So while I spent a lot of time wishing for a parking attendants or ways to make my life with kids easier, I am aware that drive-thrus everywhere wouldn’t help our traffic situation (especially on East Washington) or be that great for the environment. The Talking Heads song Nothing But Flowers always pops into my mind when I think about drive-thrus. For the time being I have to limit my excursions to only those necessary. And although I can’t remember why drive-in movie theaters phased out, despite my frustration at the length of time it is taking me to get the simplest tasks done, I am happy that somehow I am getting by just fine without that drive-thru manicure.