Drive-through Line Dread: The Silent Stressor

The COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered restaurants across the country with one notable exception: drive-thru’s. Not only are they able to stay open, they’re actually busier than ever. A group of us were chatting about this and realized that we all share something odd: a dread of the restaurant drive-thru line. And yes, we get the irony.

The dread boiled down to this: you and a dozen super-hungry friends or kids pile into the car, music blaring, everyone yelling their orders at you, dog now barking, someone’s phone is ringing, someone else is asking you to name the capitol of The Czech Republic, it’s about a trillion degrees outside and there’s a “OMG, is that a murder hornet?” in the car. Somehow, you manage to pull into the extremely long drive-through line, inch your way up to that teeny little speaker box and suddenly you panic. It’s like a strange combination of stage fright-meets-social anxiety-meets-short-term memory loss. You stammer something incoherent into the speaker, only to pull up to the window and realize you ordered 237 bags of fries and a water.

Now, there are many ways to deal with any type of anxiety: exposure, practice, journaling (really?) or counseling, for instance. But our favorite? Utter and complete avoidance. We aren’t proud of ourselves, but why force yourself to go through an experience that is so easy to skip? With Burgerville for instance, use the Burgerville app and pick it up curbside. (Insider tip: using the app can earn you freebies like burgers, fries and shakes.) That way, the only dread you’ll feel is the ire of all those other line-waiters glaring at you as you roll up like a boss, grab your food and take off. Not to worry; you’ll be miles away before they can throw their 237 orders of fries and water at you.

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