Wednesday, November 11, 2009
All I wanted was a cheeseburger...
When I woke up for work today at 0230 (that’s 2:30 AM for some of you), I was a bit surprised to find that Mrs. Steve had placed a copy of my DD Form 214 on my laptop next to my car keys. A DD214 is your Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty (ie: Discharge Papers is the easiest explanation). Needless to say I was puzzled, until she told me that with today being Veteran’s Day, I could hop on over after work to Applebee’s and get a free meal with proof of my service.
Cool. Verrrry cool.
So I went to work and skipped my usual 8AM lunch, to be sure I had room for what I daydreamed of all morning, either a medium rare steak or a juicy bacon cheeseburger. It was pouring rain sideways all day, and a nice hot meal would really brighten my day.
Work finally ends and I fight the lunch-hour traffic idiocy on my way to my Meaty Mecca.(People here can't drive properly on dry roads on a clear sunny day. Throw in the least bit of precip, and I may as well be driving convoy in Fallujah). Finally, Applebee’s is in sight. However, there’s a glitch. The place is absolutely slammed. There’s a line out the door. I drove around the building 3 times and not a single parking spot to be found. I finally ended up over a hundred yards away on a side street in the grass. It seems that every single military retiree, veteran, and active duty body in Charleston had descended on the place. It’s 5 miles from the Air Force base and about 10 miles from the Navy base.
I waited in the car for like 20 minutes or so, waiting for the rain to let up, and all the while more and more people kept piling in. Carload after carload of impossibly young troops out for lunch. Yet another shiny new Mustang pulls up & disgorges a pair or post-pubescent defenders of democracy, dressed alike in their plaid shorts, flip flops, and Ed Hardy t-shirts. Combine their ages and I think I’m still older by a year or two. Been out of boot camp for five whole minutes, they had the day off, and they wanted their free lunch. I got up for work before basic trainees even get up, and I get an Applebee’s that looked like Wal-Mart on Black Friday.
I hate lines & crowds & rain. Defeated, I drove away dejectedly. No reward today for my Cold War service. I ended up eating a rather mediocre lunch in a deserted Popeye’s. All I wanted was my cheeseburger, and ended up with indigestion from red beans & rice.
Oh well; there’s always next year.
On the plus side, my friend Wil was able to get the day off today. One of his co-workers actually donated a vacation day so that Wil could be off on Veteran’s Day.The dude verily insisted that Wil get the day off. That’s class act, I tell ya’.