La Gringa: Drive-through Drama

Today I cried at the Pizza Hut drive-through.  Yes, that’s correct.  I cried.  At a fast food joint.

Why?  Because I could barely place the order.  One pizza, two drinks.  That’s it.  Nothing else.  There was no traffic to blame.  No culture to curse.  No crying baby to need to yell over to be heard.  Sure, I’m sleep-deprived and travel torn but that wasn’t it either.

I just picked my world-traveling husband up at the airport and we both desired nourishment before making the traffic trek.  I pulled a U-turn at the only fast food place I could find.  All was well until I pulled around into the narrow curve.  Rolling down my window, I ordered a simple “pizza”.  For those of you non-Spanish speakers, it’s the same word in Spanish.  So how hard could it be to order?

I repeated myself three times to the faceless black box before pulling around to actually look someone in the eye.  Maybe if I could do charades (for the millionth time), I could make my request known.

The kind employee smiled as she asked to clarify my order.  Exasperated, I pointed to the pizza box, sitting in the revolving heater.  Now we’re getting somewhere.  Wait, what?  There’s more questions?  What kind of drink do I want?  How many?  In cup or bottle?  I’ve survived this long with using generic words for everything.  But here, there can be several ways to say “bottle”.  Meanwhile, my husband is repeating these questions from the backseat, trying to clarify.  But more Spanish isn’t helping me right now.

Calmly, I reached for my wallet, but tears began to well.  My sunglasses masked them until they fell.  Tears of frustration.  It’s been seven years now.  And I can’t order freaking pizza.

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