Sept. 29, 2016
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Temple of the Golden Arches

A search for the prize at the bottom of Santa Fe’s McDonald’s

September 17, 2008, 12:00 am

Happy McDonald’s Memory #4: I’m riding in the passenger seat of my friend E’s car, his female friend S is in the back and E is driving us to Peñasco for a live music performance at Wise Fool’s theater.

All the way, I’m talking about this story, about how fantastic Santa Fe’s McDonald’s are: the décor, the Angus Third Pounders, the cleanliness, the excellent customer service, how it’s the one place a family can take its small children and not worry if they start screaming.

By the end of my tirade, they’re both starving and E has decided we’re stopping at the next McDonald’s.

“All roads lead to McDonald’s,” I tell him.

“Eventually,” I add 20 minutes later.

“All roads, except for the one to Peñasco,” I conclude as we pull up to our destination.

On the way back, however, we fail to make a turn and serendipitously arrive at Española’s McDonald’s. I am redeemed, but only momentarily.

The McDonald’s isn’t adobe. Inside, the tables aren’t fashionable. The Third Pounders aren’t on the menu. In blatant disregard to fire codes, we’re locked inside to keep the homeless out. Worst of all, it takes 15 minutes to get our fast food. Kids are running wild; at least I’m right on that point.

After they eat, E and S venture out onto the patio to inspect the Playland. It’s a huge hideous thing; the tubes and domes are like veins and blisters on a genetic experiment gone wrong. No wonder the kids love it. A trio of children swarm the couple and show them the short-cut up the side of the structure and instruct them how they can pick up speed going down the slide if they sit on plastic McDonald’s trays.

Moments later, S comes whooshing out the end of the slide like a Jamaican bobsledder and crashes into the safety mat. After the manager finally unlocks the door for them, S shows me her bruises.

“That was awesome,” E remarks and then says to S, “I can’t believe you let that kid climb up behind you in that skirt. You just made his month, I’m sure.”

His month or his forever memory. People may doubt me, but in the end, there’s a reason why so many of us—ba da ba ba baa—are lovin’ it.  SFR

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