Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Civil Disobedience

Why is it that when you become a parent, restaurants that
were once considered absolutely out of the question for even a snack become our
regular dinner spots? I have gotten
into the habit of taking my kids to McDonalds every Wednesday after
school. Both my son and daughter love
the playground, which is indoors so it is a perfect winter hangout, and my son
really looks forward to this ritual. Five years ago I could count on one hand the number of times I visited
McDonalds in a year. These days, I’m
just praying that the number is less than fifty. 

If I really sit and ponder this a little while, it
absolutely blows my mind. I read “Fast
Food Nation
” before my son was born and was appalled by what I learned. I watched “Super Size Me” and was repulsed
by what became of Morgan Spurlock during his 30-day experiment in American
excess via the McDonald’s Drive Thru. I
consider myself to be a relatively savvy, well-meaning consumer and yet I take
my children to McDonald’s once a week. We order our Happy Meals and I watch my children devour deep-fried
chicken nuggets and French fries along with perfectly preserved “fresh” apple
slices (what do they put on those apples?) and chocolate milk. I try to order one of their surprisingly
tasty and fresh salads for myself but wait with baited breath for my children
to run off and play so that I can scavenge their leftovers. Despite my loathing of the establishment, I
love me some chicken nuggets and fries. They are magically delicious.

I already know why I go to McDonald’s. It’s no secret. I go because it’s all about convenience and instant
gratification. You order your food and
it is ready within five minutes (most days). You sit in a room with a bunch of other parents and kids, surrounded by
plastic play equipment. You eat and
then your kids leave and play, REALLY play, while you get some peace and
quiet. It’s a little bit of serenity
for my Wednesday afternoon. I’m not
sure that Thoreau would approve of my store bought serenity but, hey, it works
for me.  I won't pray at the alter of the golden arches but I will help add to the "Over 1 Billion Served" sign. 


  1. "A McDonald's Cheese Burger would be nice" that catch phrase has been a standard at our house ever since the first time we picked up Maggie Mae after Day Care. Yes, we do enable her habit, but she must have had the experience sometime before we first became involved in the addiction. Now, she has presious little Aleita begging for the same culinary delight everytime she comes to visit Grandma Mary and Papa Dale. Bless her heart, she does have a taste for the healther fare, she likes McNuggets and fries better than cheeseburgers. (have you tried the snack-wrap? not bad, about six of them makes a pretty good meal, that's why they call me super-sized)

  2. Papa Dale-
    You know you are corrupting those poor children with your gluttony? I guess that is what Grandparents are for, eh?