There you are, alone in a parking lot, with a $7 combo meal that you don’t even feel bad eating because you went to the gym last night. You live too far from the office to take it home, and the thought of throwing this saturated fat monster down at your desk makes you queasy. It looks like it’s time again for what can be one of the most spiritually cleansing activities in your life: the solo car lunch. Follow my lead on this, and you can out-lunch the entire office.
Do Not Eat Fast Food In A Fast Food Parking Lot
I think a lot of people out there have made this mistake, myself included. You see, you think it’s convenient and that you’re less likely to be seen by someone you know if you just slam that gut bomb in a fast food parking lot. Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re making a mistake. Realistically, there’s probably five or six drive-thru options near your office. I know that may be shooting high, but for the sake of argument, we’ll say five or six. If you work in a mid-sized office with say, forty people, there’s a good enough chance that one of them will have the same idea as you, and you absolutely don’t want to be the person seen taking down a roast beef sandwich and curly fries in the damn Arby’s parking lot. It’s just gross. I get that it’s not any different than eating in your office parking lot, or even a Home Depot parking lot. Either way, if you’re spotted there, someone will forever associate you with Arby’s. Even if you ordered something relatively healthy, people will still assume that you ordered the most trans-fat laden item on the menu. It’s all about perception. Distance yourself from the drive-thru.
Time It Correctly
If you have the luxury of eating your lunch whenever you please, which should be a human right by the way, then you need to consider a few things before you jump in your car and charge Long John Silver’s. First, when is the normal lunch rush? Do you mind sitting in a drive-thru line for twenty-two minutes? Are you like me, and you often prefer the drive-thru over going in because you want to limit human interaction? There are two schools of thought on the timing of a solo car lunch. You can either beat the rush and have more time to burn sitting alone in your parked car, or you can go in the middle of the rush and burn half of your lunch break in the drive-thru line. There are good arguments for both. For the sake of this instructional piece, I’m going to assume that you will be using the maximum lunch break time you’ve been provided by your employer. My recommendation is this: Don’t beat the lunch rush. Embrace the lunch rush. If you breeze through the drive-thru in four minutes, then you have left yourself with a lot of time to kill. I only recommend that if you have an entertainment plan of attack. We’ll address that later.
Make An Intelligent Order
Some items are just more car-friendly than others. Maybe you’ve been craving Tex-Mex all day, but if you try to eat a burrito inside your car, you’re gonna have a bad time. It’s not worth being the guy with salsa verde on his shirt. I’ve been there. Be smart about this. Even something as harmless as lettuce can do plenty of damage to your clothing and your psyche. One minute you’re enjoying a harmless yet average six-inch club from Subway, and the next you’re staring down at a crotch full of lettuce soaked in red wine vinaigrette. It’s deflating. Also — and it should go without saying — you need to avoid grease if you can. It drips off the back of burgers and often bleeds through the box that’s supposed to be your safety net. Oh, and it’s impossible to get out of clothing unless you live at home with your parents, in which case, Mom can definitely get it out. Make sure you request extra napkins. If they say, “they’re in the bag,” politely let them know you’ll need double that amount.
So, what are your options? I recommend chicken strips, which are generally safe despite a fair amount of grease. Also, corn dogs. Corn dogs are a great choice no matter the situation.
If you’re going to do this, you need to commit. Crank up some jams and don’t be shy about it. Get aggressive. I personally know people who have solo car lunch playlists that are comprised of nothing but late ’90s Master P and Pantera. Maybe flip on a podcast that you need to catch up on. Turn up some AM sports talk radio and listen to some asshole bloviate about A-Rod’s legacy for the next half-hour. Whatever makes you happy. This is your lunch break. Follow your heart.
Finally, you must be prepared to make eye contact with a coworker. It always happens. Nine times out of ten, a coworker will shoot you a judgmental look that says, “You chose your car over the break room? What a loser.” Well, fuck him. Shoot him a wave with whatever hand is currently grasping that ill-advised burger you’re sucking down. Don’t try and hide. Let everyone know you’re a secure enough human to dominate lunch alone. If anyone says, “hey, I saw you eating lunch alone in your car,” just smile and say, “I bet you did. I bet you did.” That person, despite the smug disposition, secretly respects you.
“Here in my car, I feel safest of all, I can lock all my doors, it’s the only way to live.” -Gary Numan. Wise words, Gary..
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