I don't often go to McDonald's, but the other day, my daughter was home sick and asked for a McDonald's chocolate shake, so when I did my grocery store run, I stopped at McDonald's on the way home.
It was lunchtime, and the line at the drive-thru snaked through both lanes and backed up into the parking lot. I hesitated. How necessary was a chocolate milkshake from McDonald's? But I'd put it out there, and if I went home empty-handed just because I didn't want to wait in line, I'd be disappointing my sick child. (Yes, I do both drama and guilt exceedingly well.)
So I decided on an alternative plan. I pulled into a parking space and went inside.
There was no line. Two patrons stood holding drinks and waiting for their orders, and a cashier asked if she could help me when I was still only halfway to the counter. I was out of the restaurant in five minutes, maybe less. Focused on my child instead of where I needed to be next, I wasn't keeping track of time.
Truth be told, had I been there over my lunch hour in the middle of a work day ordering a sandwich for myself, I'd have taken one look at the line, then driven straight out of the parking lot. It wouldn't even have occurred to me to park and go inside.
Maybe it's our need for speed that makes the inherently obvious option undesirable. As I write this on Saturday morning, still in my pajamas at 11 am, I realize that's exactly the issue for me. On days when I don't have a schedule to adhere to, I am most happy just puttering. The little voice in the back of my head scolds that I should be doing something productive, that grown-ups don't sit around in their pajamas all morning, that surely I have something better to do than play games on Facebook.
And surely I do. But without the occasional lazy morning spent lounging in pjs, I run the risk of becoming the person who forgets that getting out of the car and going inside the restaurant is an option. Am I less efficient? Perhaps. But in the long run, I think I'd rather be less efficient with more options available to me than vice versa.
I probably won't go back to McDonald's anytime soon - it's just not an eatery we frequent - but I hope the next time I'm in a long line somewhere, I'll remember that I have options, and that efficiency is only one of them.