Dearest Rachel –
One of the many books that you left behind was a reissued copy of Windsor McCay’s “Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend,” wherein aficionados of the titular grilled cheese with mustard sandwich who’d eaten it too late at night would suffer from bizarre nighttime visions not unlike those of his later, more famous character, Little Nemo of Slumberland. The ‘punchline’ (if you could call it that) usually had them waking up and swearing off the stuff, like an alcoholic after suffering from delirium tremens.
Now, I wouldn’t exactly call myself an addict of fast food – although, if I did, I think you would agree with me that our entire family of three was equally guilty to some degree – but I did find myself waking up this morning to a fairly vivid dream about a fast food breakfast.
The irritating part about it is that it was at a place that we’d only been to once or twice, and can’t go back to anytime soon, since it’s nowhere near us. And this is the point in my story where I might sit back after telling you this much, and wait as you would say, “hold on, don’t tell me, let me guess,” and eventually figure out for yourself what place I was talking about.
I miss those little games between us.
Anyway, since I know you’re not going to try and guess what I was thinking of, I suppose I have to just come out and tell you: I was imagining we were eating breakfast at Whataburger. The thing is, there wasn’t anything particularly unusual about it all, nor was the “problem” I was dealing with something that would be considered an actual problem. Certainly nothing to complain about. It was that the bacon was dangling outside of the sandwich itself, and I just didn’t know what to do with it out hanging over, dripping sauce onto the table and my napkin.
I know, I know it sounds silly. What do you expect? That’s just how dreams are from time to time, and you would know that better than anyone, considering you had so many so often.
Anyway, the problem was such that we involved a staffer or two to try and help me deal with all the loose bacon; and beyond that, well, the dream is starting to fade already. I don’t remember that much more than that. I do remember the sandwich being slightly spicy – more like a breakfast sausage sandwich, rather than just bacon – but that’s about it.
So, seeing as to how this dream caused me to wake up thinking about fast food breakfasts, I might as well discuss the topic, even as I insist (and you’re more than welcome to claim that I doth protest too much) that I’m not necessarily in the mood for such a repast at the moment. Hopefully the fact that I’m talking about food – even in such sotto voce – won’t wake up Chompers right away.
I confess my guilt in turning us into virtual junkies of fast food breakfasts. Once upon a time, we were an ordinary family, eating cereal and milk and orange juice together. Although, now that I think about it, were we ever together for breakfast? I don’t really recall. Usually, I was out the door pretty early, earlier than either of you two needed to or were willing to be, as I recall. In any case, the point is that we didn’t bother with fast food back in the day.
And even as I turned us on to the concept, it was only a once a week thing – so, still a treat, it’s a fairly regular one. After the company I worked for moved from Elk Grove to Hoffman Estates, I would find myself with more work than I could finish in the course of a single 45-50 hour work week, and I would go in for a couple of hours on Saturday mornings, while the two of you slept. When I felt that I had accomplished enough, I would call you up (and it was a 50-50 chance as to whether I would wake you up), let you know I was coming home, and offer to pick up breakfast, as there was – and still is, after all – a McDonald’s literally right on the tail end of my route home.
Daniel, in particular was partial to the breakfast burrito. While he really enjoyed the McSkillet (as long as I remember to have them hold the red sauce he was more than happy to switch over to the smaller ones once that was no longer available.
As a side comment, we often would complain amongst ourselves about how fast food places would develop really interesting products, and then cancel them after a fairly short amount of time, during which we’d gotten accustomed to them to the point of them being favorites. I understand the need to shake up the menu from time to time, but were the three of us so weird that we always backed the wrong horse?
Eventually, I was discouraged from coming in on Saturdays to work (for security and liability reasons, I believe) – and I was fine with that, especially since we began to make a tradition of the two of us having “our” time be that time. The trouble was, we had gotten too used to our Saturday breakfast routine. So they were times when we had to wrap up fairly quickly in order to make sure we got out in time to pick up breakfast. It was an absolute boon when McDonald’s switched over to breakfast at any time. That way we could take our time with each other, and still be able to get what Daniel wanted.
Granted, I couldn’t always get myself one of their bagels…
As for how Whataburger factors into this dream – or our own fast food experience in general – that was basically from our trip to San Antonio to visit your ‘Aunt’ Ruth (actually, your godmother, as you explained) last year. We’d never seen the place before, although I’d heard of it vaguely at some point, and since there was one a block or two from our hotel, I wanted to try it out. And we really enjoyed it, although I don’t recall anything specific about its breakfast offerings that were truly remarkable.
I think we enjoyed lunch there more than breakfast – which is a point worth making, as Daniel does not do McDonald’s except for breakfast. As I recall, he did enjoy their chicken sandwich. As for myself, I was drawn to their spicy ketchup which tasted at first like ordinary ketchup, until you let it sit on your tongue for a moment. Then it would really kick in. Nothing too five-alarm, but enough to let you know you’d really tasted something.
I enjoyed it well enough that, since you’ve been gone, I’d splashed out on Amazon to buy a three pack of the stuff – because you can find anything on Amazon these days – and nowadays I eat fries more often (which is probably not a good thing, but oh well). I’ve also turned Jan onto the stuff as well, so now if and when I run out, I’m going to have to get some more for the both of us.
I know I’ve said it before, but I really do enjoy being able to introduce her – and anyone – to the things I like, and watch them like them too. It’s one more reason why I really hope I find Megumi soon: there’s so much to introduce her to, and I wanna get started.
It’s weird how they say you can’t see colors in your dream. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I actually noticed about colors, but I do remember this morning’s dream tasting a certain way – which has got to be that much more difficult, in terms of a sensory experience. I really don’t remember what Whataburger breakfast offerings tasted like it’s been over a year, after all. I’m going to say that the sandwich tasted more like a Wendy’s sausage croissant (not that they seem to know what a croissant is – I think they have it confused with the brioche: “hey, it’s all French to us.”), but whatever. And as I bring up that location chain, I feel like I want to talk about biscuits and gravy, but I think this letter is getting long enough as it is, and I really need to be heading out to the ‘office’ – it’s been a very long weekend (not that I’ve minded at all, but still). I’ll get back to you on that topic another time, I think.
Until then, know that I miss you. For so many different reasons.