Off the I-5: A Trip to Denny’s

“Drive!” Sarah was driving with about a mile wide distance between us and the car in front.

“No, I hate switching gears.” Why Sarah ever got a stick shift car, I don’t really know. She claims it was so that her sister wouldn’t be able to drive her car. I just think she wanted to be different, to prove her eccentricity. Even if no one cared.

Five hours from Los Angeles to San Jose. Thank god for the rap music otherwise I’m sure Sarah would’ve fallen asleep and crashed. Not that she needs sleep for that.

Is it possible to feel hungover from loving life too much? Because I think at that moment, despite the pain of having to go through five hours in a car, nothing felt better than the wind stinging my face as I hung my head out the window and screamed Timbaland lyrics at passing drivers. Sarah joined me. She spent more time waving sarcastically at cows in central California than looking at the road ahead.

“Sarah! Left! Turn left!” I constantly screamed at my eternally confounded companion. She still turned right. It’s no surprise that our five-hour car ride took nine and a half hours to complete. I reminded her of her apparent ineptness. It takes a great driver to surpass 60 parking tickets in a semester, one of which followed the removal of her license plate after she parked in a reserved $1800/week spot.

Anyways, we finally got to Denny’s, our favorite affordable dinner since we spend all of our money buying useless shit. Throwing on my hat, I strutted in and sat at my table of choice. Generally, Denny’s requires you to be seated by staff. We didn’t care.

“Hi, how may I help you?” The waiter asked us.

“Can we have the $4 value meal but replace the pancakes for hash browns, please?” I could not wait for hash browns. I love hash browns. In any shape, form, manner. The juicy crunchy sensation that sprouts up in your mouth when you take a bite—I love them. Love them enough that I would sell Sarah’s soul for even the crappiest plate of hash browns.

“Sorry, policy won’t allow us to switch any items,” the waitress replied. I stared into her heartless eyes. They always allow us to order hash browns. But she refused.

“We’ll just take another minute,” Sarah stepped in. I gawked with a disgusted expression ofHow could they do this to me? Reluctantly, we agreed to leave. I stole a small packet of jam from the table as a final FU to the diner. They had betrayed me and I would gladly take my $4 elsewhere more deserving.

Sarah and I hopped back in the car and threw our bags in the back angrily.

“Drive by the door,” I told her, with a delirious smile upon my face. She knew. She always knew. Laughing hysterically she zoomed by, leaving me with just enough time to chuck the jam out at the Denny’s front door. Ah, but even this sweet exhilaration of retribution did not mask my hurt. I could no longer have hash browns. My pursuit of happiness had been stripped of me.

Sarah sensed my decaying mental state. Glancing at my deadening face, she knew it was time for my prescription. We quickly headed over to Starbucks to pick it up. Green tea is no hash brown substitute, but it does comes close in the chain.

We didn’t get green tea.

“Two venti hot waters,” Sarah commanded at the drive-thru.

“…Anything else?” The barista replied on the speakers, awaiting an actual order.

“Nope.”

We stopped at Starbucks every half hour thereafter, totaling 23 Starbucks venti cups of hot water by the end of the ride. Last night’s cinnamon crumbs sprinkled about the car added a nice sparkle to the flooded cup holders and drenched car rugs.

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