Monday, July 7, 2008

A Sonic Awakening

On a not so recent episode of "LOST" one of the main characters mentioned that Tallahassee Florida was nothing more than a land of strip malls and Waffle Houses. On the contrary it's much more than that. It's the deep end of the recreational pool in summertime with its sweltering heat. It's a monstrous mass of inert concrete and asphalt as far as the eye can see. Not only do we have Waffle Houses we have several major colleges, a myriad of state agencies, sprawling suburbs and new to my vocabulary....Sonic.

A few months back while driving down Monroe Street, listening to Ravi Shankar at full tilt, I noticed a strange but familiar fast food joint where people sit in their cars to eat. It then dawned on me that I had never been to a Sonic. I've seen the commercials and driven by the signs a number of times, but throughout all of my years I have never once had an inclining to pull in and order. The place always looked packed to the teeth. Everyone doing it. I must admit I felt I was missing out on some great American pastime of sucking down grease and huffing exhaust. Being a man of experience and curiosity I got kinda bummed that I hadn't participated. So, I made it my mission to dine at one, if that's what they call it.

In order to do this properly I had to have a guide, a person so adept in the ordering process, a person who knew the secret handshakes, a person who's been to the front line and single handedly held off the invasion, that person would be none other than my wife. Why she knows the in's and out's of a Sonic as if the prom were last weekend.

We ended up there one Friday after a wine tasting event. Right off the bat this sounds like a horrible idea, but I assure you at the time it was just the ticket. Alcohol commands! No need to choose a particular day, timing is everything in this type of endeavor. So, my trusty guide whipped the Jetta into the first available space and set about speaking in tongues at the monolithic display. 

At 9 o'clock on a Friday when everybody's rushing for a parking spot there's sort of an electrical cackle in the air and the low hum of bass filtering in from the neighboring kid's crapmobile. It's the sort of thing that makes the hairs stand up on the back of your head. The before-dinner atmosphere, the blend of hot grease bubbling off in the distance, the stink of car farts, the sun-roof open and Tom Petty's Mary Jane's Last Dance on the radio drove the night to a delirious expectancy. 

After some time our waitress arrived with a tray of Sonic's finest, 2 Cherry-Lime Aids, a chicken sandwich something-or-other and a tall stack of fries. Getting situated in a car has never been one of my better suits. Much to the chagrin of the kids next to us I immediately spilt my drink in my lap. "YES, I AM JUST A TOURIST HERE, GIVE ME A BREAK"! My guide on the other hand didn't find it nearly as amusing and handed me her napkins.

Life drifting by the window on a summer evening. The hypnotizing gastronomical apparatus of eating a greasy chicken sandwich with a wet sticky lap was actually quite the experience I was hoping for. Was the food it wasn't. Was the waitstaff courteous and they weren't. Will I ever go bet your ass I will. The heart of Tallahassee sails unfurled into the night for those willing to seek adventure. 


JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

This is beautiful Aaron! We just recently went through the same thing. We are finding that lots of newer fast food chains we have never eaten at - Sonic, Chik-fil-A, Five Guys and the like. So we liked the oddness that is Sonic and decided to check it out. I have to say I really enjoyed the Java Chiller, it was just what I needed on a hot asphalt summer day right before cooling down in the movies! It was a really fun experience and I am sure to go back, too! LOL!

Susanna said...

ahhh. Sonic. Heeeheee. I lived two houses over as they were building that thing. Argh.
Me missy Tally.

Christina said...

BWAHAHAAHAH! A Sonic opened here recently and mass chaos to the extent of an entire LANE being blocked off just for Sonic customers was the result. Cops and everything. And yes, the food is complete crap, the only good part is the real fruit icees. In fact, I can't wait until the Sonic opens closer to my house just for the icees, or whatever they call them.

muddywaters said...

You went a little Gonzo on us - Too bad you weren't in the Great Red Shark with Hunter S. Thompson behind the wheel. I love the last sentence; I must have read it 10 times.

We have a Steak and Shake in town that I've never visited. You've inspired me to make a 3:00 a.m. visit.

KennyDoll77 said...

Try the cream pie shakes, Aaron. And do so immediately. I recommend the coconut.