My dad doesn’t get out much. Being an excellent cook, mom makes sure that he cooks most of the meals. Today was different. Today dad said that for the first time, he wanted to try McDonald’s. That’s right, he is 75 and has never ate McDonald’s in his entire life.
We take the drive through. There are two lines inside the restaurant, mostly filled with teens getting their school lunches, and knowing my dad, he wouldn’t want to stand at the end of a line filled with teenagers. I don’t blame him actually, there is only so much texting and giggling a guy can take.
When we get to the spot where they take your order a voice comes across a little speaker. The voice is not Newfie, more like Filipino or Pakistani. “Tee hee may I know your order sir” the machine says. My dad, whose hearing is not much better than mine despite the fact that we have matching hearing aids, has a difficult time understanding the little lady. “Sir, what do you like for to eat?” she said, in what must have been a translated version of “what would you like to order?”
“I want a McBurger meal, and some tea” my dad tells the now confused person on the speaker.
“you want the meal, do you want flies?” she asks. I think she meant ‘Fries’.
“Flies? you ask if I want Flies? What do you take me for little lady?” my dad asks, not sounding a bit angry.
“Not Flies sir, Flies, do you want flies or salad?” she asks, me laughing and my dad fuming.
“Little lady, I don’t know where you come from, but here in Newfoundland we don’t eat flies. If you have fries I will have some, but no salt please”
“Sir, you are very difficult to understand. Could you please speak more clear?” she asked.
“So your order is big flies and a burger and tea and no salt?” she reads. “You have to have salt, we have no control over salt, but you can ask for less salt if you wish” she says, not quite as clear as I just typed. “No Pickles either, hate those things” my dad adds.
By this time my dad just wants to leave, but there are cars in front of us and cars behind us, so we are stuck here at the ordering spot, horns honking everywhere. Finally she gives us our total and we move up to the window. I pay for the meal and move up to another window and another foreign girl gives us our order.
When we get home dad opens his burger to find more pickles than meat. He complains. He opens his fries to find that they practically gave him ten pounds of fries. When he asked for big fries he meant the other kind to the shoestring fries, not enough fries to feed a third world country. There was enough salt to kill a medium sized horse, even though he requested no salt. Apparently the girl couldn’t understand us.
Things have changed in our town in the last few years. When I was a kid we only had one black family in the entire town, but now we have people from all over the world. With each new person comes their cultures and practices, as well as their language. We Newfies are known for our unique dialect, I say that anyone who chooses to live here should get used to it. Just saying.
As for my dad, he didn’t eat his flies, he found them way too salty.