I Dreamed a Dream

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Thirteen years ago, I posted a retelling of a dream I had, noting that while I can sometimes tell you vaguely what a dream was about, I almost never remember the specifics. That was the last time I did remember the specifics up until last night.

I thought it might happen a bit more frequently, and I’d make good on my intention to describe them here whenever it happened. So when I say I almost never remember specifics of a dream, I clearly meant it.

In last night’s dream, I was preparing to order food at a Wendy’s™ restaurant. (Disclosure, I worked at a Wendy’s two different summers many æons ago, so I’m somewhat familiar with how their food prep areas work as they haven’t changed much.)

There were a few people waiting in line ahead of me, but it seemed to be moving quickly. I finally reached the front and placed my order (just a single cheese burger, fries, and drink). No sooner do I complete the transaction, when suddenly it seemed everyone except one employee was gone. No customers. No one at the various food prep stations. No one at the drive through window. I had vague sense there was someone way in the back of the store, completely detached from anything happening in the front.

The one remaining employee was the one at the register. I waited a moment for my food, figuring the lone worker might call back to let someone know they needed to prepare my food. That didn’t happen.

Five minutes go by and still no movement. The register worker was essentially just standing there, and I inquired how much longer. She did little more than shrug. Another couple minutes and I ask her if she’d just go make my sandwich for me. “I’m assigned to the register. I have to stay here,” she responded.

By now, at least 10 minutes had elapsed, and there was still no sign of any other employees coming back. Naturally I was becoming internally irate, especially since the register worker was literally just standing there, probably hoping another customer would come in to justify her decision to stay put. She wasn’t even doing any spot cleaning/organizing that was always required of workers back when I used to be a Wendy’s employee.

Several more exchanges about how much longer it would be, and I’d reached the 30-minute mark waiting for my food. I asked the register worker one last time, “There’s not been a single other customer. Are you going to prepare my order or not?” She lazily looked at me and half-shrugged.

That was it. I marched around the counter, walked through the “employees only” door and over to the sandwich station to make the burger myself, all to the register worker’s feigned distress and protest. “You can NOT be back here!” she shouted. “Apparently neither can any employees,” I calmly replied as I ignored her continued attempts to convince me to stop.

One thing that only now occurred to me as I write this post, Wendy’s doesn’t store burgers in a heating drawer like McDonald’s™. They’re fresh off the grill. Any burgers that get overcooked are placed in a bin to have the overcooked outer part boiled off and the rest later used as part of the chili meat (don’t worry, I’ve seen it; it’s fine). After a 30-minute wait with no one working the grill, I’m really not sure how I ended up with a satisfactory burger with which to make my sandwich.

In any case, after wrapping my burger, I treated myself to a large carton of fries instead of the small I’d ordered. Figured I deserved it. I put both items in a bag and also took a large drink cup. As I was leaving, another worker (manager?) finally came out and asked about the commotion he heard. I didn’t stay long enough to hear any more of the exchange between the two employees.

And right about then is when I was awoken by my wife alerting me that our dog was doing her thing that signals she might need to go outside.

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