Hi there! Been a few days, but here we go. Different day, different Dunkin', roughly the same vaguely Indian/Pakistani owner/operators as the other one, the one that I drive through. This one I walked into and was greeted by the omnipresent, over-bright cheer- (and donut eating?) inducing music piped overhead in a constant stream of oafish, too-loud "music". I mean really, does ANYONE call "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy I've Got Love In My Tummy" music?
I walk in at precisely the same time as approximately five other customers. We approach the already formed line of three others in orderly, Dunkin' fashion. I immediately resound to the familiar cadence of my drive-"thru" Dunkin'. Namely, nearly incomprehensible English by way of over-dubbed Bollywood movies. There are four people behind the counter servicing the line in a dizzying fashion, talking over each other louder and louder in an attempt to be heard over the other voices, the shrill announcements of "Lite 98", and the voices of the customers. Some are ordering, some are talking on cell phones and some are (like me) standing in stunned silence waiting for our turn to enter this cacophanous fray. I'm already calculating which "worker" will be barking at me to, very soon now, place my order and quickly move to the side. You gotta get the fuck outta the way cause the next customer is already screaming in your ear in response to several urgent demands:
"What is ya ahda?"
"What did ya ahda?" Presumably a different person calculates what you owe and a third person,
"Cash? Credit?" takes your money.
Now I'm scared; there's only one person between me and the three-ring circus of this Bizarro World Dunkin'. I'm sincerely regretting having come in here.
"YOR ORDA?" He's yelling these word-ish syallables at me, now and I realize it's now or never.
"Large ice coffee."
"CREAMANDSUGA?" Painfully it sounds exactly the same cadence as the tinny voice that I now realize I've forsaken, betrayed and deeply long for as it daily comes out of the little Dunkin' squawk box in the drive "thru" line. Too late; forge ahead.
"No sugar, extra cream!" I yell brightly at his stone face. He rushes off as I shout: "I ALSO WANT A SANDWICH!"
Another worker, a woman this time, addresses me. Her face is stern to the point of being angry and I briefly imagine that the little red dot on her forward is positively glowing in parallel to her angry face:
"Sandwich? What kind? Egg and cheese and sausage?"
I'm deeply insulted that she has assumed that I'll have the biggest, fattest breakfast sandwich in the lineup just by looking at me and it makes me instantly surly.
"No. I'll have egg and cheese on an English muffin."
At just that moment the high-school age valley boy directly behind me gets waited on by worker number three and begins to shout in my ear the specifics of his two dozen donuts order.
"Ummmm, I'd like four of the glazed, two jellies, three with the sprinkles and three of those cruller-things."
"FOUR GLAZED, THREE JELLY, TWO SPRINKLE AND THREE WHAT?"
"THREE OF THEM CRULLER THINGS!!"
The noise level at the front of this line has reached roughly the level of a revving Boeing 747. Now the woman behind me has to raise the volume of her ongoing cell phone call in order that her INCREDIBLY CRITICAL INFORMATION be heard at precisely this instant by whatever jackass is on the other end of her cell conversation.
"OH TOTALLY! REPORT CARDS CAME OUT YESTERDAY AND I WAS NOT HAPPY WITH ETHAN! WHAT? REPORT CARDS CAME OUT YESTERDAY! OH SHIT, HOLD ON!"
Now another worker was yelling at her wondering "CANIHEPYOU?" and I figured I was close to collapsing when my original guy arrives back in front of me with a large ice coffee that is as black as the ace of spades. Clearly he thought I ordered an ice coffee with no cream and extra sugar.
"I DIDN'T ORDER THAT! I ORDERED A LARGE ICE COFFEE WITH EXTRA CREAM AND NO SUGAR!"
He stops in his tracks and for one dizzying moment I truly believe he's going to fling that large, icy coffee directly at me. At that point it would probably be a relief. This place is an insane asylum. Instead he stomps off, clearly angry that I had wasted that .03 cents worth of perfectly good coffee and prepares me another one. I watched him the whole way to make sure he didn't add anything special to it, like his own spit.
At the same instant he arrives back with my correct coffee order the woman who took my presumed-to-be-a-gluttonous-fatso sandwich order arrives back as well and their voices combine in a perfect storm of unintelligible noise. It's gibberish on speed.
The orders are still richocheting around my head like an angry swarm of bees as I throw my money on the counter and turn to escape from this loony bin of commerce. As I turn to go I see the line, now out the door, and briefly consider sticking around just to see if anyone's head explodes, but in the end decide it's safer to get the fuck out of there.
Tomorrow I'll be back in the drive-"thru" line at my very own wonderful little Dunkin', thankful for the blessed anonymity afforded when I don't have to leave my car and rub elbows with the great unwashed. Who knew that what lurked inside the actual store was a caffeine-fueled nuthouse of epic proportions? Either that or I accidentally stumbled on the portal to the parallel universe that exists in the tiny little droplets of blue water on the leaves of every tree that isn't green and...heyyyyyy...wait a minute....I think he DID put something special in my coffee!