Unorthodox McDonald’s

The way my next door neighbors ordered McDonald’s fascinated me as a kid. In my family everyone told my mom or dad what they wanted and then the order would be placed. One meal per person—no more, no less.

Their family did it differently. Their mom or dad would go to McDonald’s and just order a bunch of stuff: a few burgers, a few boxes of chicken nuggets, several containers of fries, a couple milkshakes. And then they just put it all on the table, and everyone would graze. Maybe you’d have a few nuggets and then split a burger with someone. Milkshakes would be split into faded Tupperware cups.

It felt wildly, wonderfully unorthodox to me. The handful of times I was invited to join them, I would stare—wide-eyed and amused—as I timidly helped myself to the piles of food in front of me.

At my house you were handed what you specifically asked for and then you ate it. I imagine my parents did this to avoid fights, which worked. Come to think of it, other than the haphazard McDonald’s ordering, the other thing I remember most about our neighbors’ house was how much screaming went on over there.

But it might’ve been fun to order their way one time.

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