Yesterday I needed something. I did not know what. I just knew I needed something. A break. Encouragement. A little variety. I was discouraged. I was tired. And I wanted to go home to my couch and my cat.
I read through my e-mails. There, in my inbox, was the answer. The Seattle Times wanted me to know that I could have a hamburger (or cheeseburger) for $.19. If it had been any old burger, I might have passed. But it was a Dick’s burger.
I have discussed Dick’s before. I am a fan. So are billionaires and musicians. It is a local perk and it works for me. I frequent them, darn it. And if I can snag one for $.19? Well, okay then.
Walking would have made more sense. I work less than half a mile from my branch. But no. I decided to drive. “It will be on the way home,” I told myself. I thought, “It is a Thursday night. Not a Friday. No Kraken games. Everything will be fine.”
Then I tried to find parking. Using their lot soon proved to be out of the question. I drove around the block and found a metered spot.
Did I feed the meter? Nope. “How long could it take?” Heh. Silly Cosand. And no, it is not lost on me that I risked a $44 ticket in order to save $2.50 on a burger. I know the math is not in my favor. What can I say, sometimes you need to be illogical.
As I walked up to the building, I saw that the company’s advertising campaign had paid off. Funny how word of mouth spreads when it comes to spending less than a quarter. Who am I kidding? We all knew one burger would not do. We all bought a milkshake or fries or another burger. We knew, and Dick’s knew, that they would get a boost in business.
Sounds fine to me. They pay their workers well. Their burgers are tasty. They are local. If I can get two burgers and a milkshake for $7.21? Show a little affection to a neighborhood institution? Then I am in.
I looked around and saw that the majority of people around me were twenty-somethings. It makes sense. They catch the tweets and the notifications. They are not rich. Why would they miss out?
I noticed another thing. I looked at the lines. I looked at the people around the sides of the building, munching as they rested on the counters. I stood behind a guy who was being affectionate with his girlfriend.
As silly as it might feel to say it, I felt a part of something.
There I was, just one more guy getting a burger for $.19. Like everyone else around me. A guy who wanted quality food for a ridiculous price.
(Though, honestly, I am glad it was not the same night as a Kraken game. That place would have been full.)
It was one little blip on the calendar that would add to a pile of memories. I have run across the Viaduct before it closed. I have climbed up all the stairs of the Space Needle. I was there when Pacific Science Center was declared a national landmark. I have watched with others as a rainbow visited the Seattle skyline and I have seen The Dark Knight on the biggest indoor screen in the state. For all the things I like to do alone, I feel like part of a community when I do things with others.
I stood for fifteen minutes in line, not minding being surrounded by happy people. I drove home, moving in the mass of cars that made up commuter traffic. Then, finally, I had my quiet night with my cat and couch.
Judging by the way she attacked the brown bag, Nala would have liked her own burger. Maybe next time.