McGriddle Forgiveness

Last Saturday at almost exactly this time, 10:50 a.m., I raced from house to my car. I squealed out of my street parking spot and while I’m pretty sure that the tires didn’t actually “squeal,” in my congealed memory, they did. So, I squealed out of my parking spot and raced to Park Ave. I chased up Park as quickly as the speed limit allowed and occasionally a teensy bit faster whenever I remembered the time-sensitive nature of this mission.

I reached my destination and jogged to the front doors, raced up to the Counter Guy and said, “Did I miss breakfast? Do you have any McGriddles left?”

He smiled kinda extra wide when he said, “You’re the guy from last week.”

He was right.

I hadn’t even realized that, but he remembered.

He laughed outright at me, a rare break in the dull McDonald’s veneer and he said, “You missed the McGriddle last Saturday, didn’t you? You missed breakfast by 1 minute.”

“Yeah, that was me.”

Now, this was just downright embarrassing.

He said, “You missed it again. We just switched over to lunch.”

He had no idea how he devastated me; I have recently fallen in love with the McGriddle.

My friend, John, made me aware that there are websites devoted to honoring our dear friend, Mr. McGriddle, breakfast sammich with syrupy, maple flavor infused in each bite of the pancake and sausage -

Okay. Slow down.

This is the kind of talk that gets me speeding on Park Ave. at 10:53 a.m.

Two weeks ago, John, Brett, and I saw a movie that parodied McGriddle worship, and it made me curious to try one. How good could a pancake breakfast sandwich be?

The movie wasn’t quite my taste but I did find parts to be hilarious, and even more hilarious was to watch John keel over, howling with his strong, staccato laugh. His laugh is itself hilarious, because it comes from so deep inside of him and it’s so raw and joyful. John’s got an amazing sense of humor. He arranged our outing, a movie premier night with a young college crowd, something I would have never experienced but for my friendship with John. Over the past year or more, John and I have grown closer and I would even go so far as to say close.

I never dreamed I’d have these kind of friendships with straight men, the kind where I choose to be vulnerable with my fuck ups and frailties and they understand me, understood better than I thought would be possible. They have their own fuck ups and frailties too, which equalizes us. Perhaps the biggest difference between us is that after a man and woman’s big date, he might send flowers and the gays would rather leave a four-minute, raunchy voicemail. Well, I’m sure some straight men leave their girlfriends sexy voicemails that make their toes curl.

And I have sent flowers.

We may have more in common than we think.

John is a warrior friend and that means we can be furious with each other, be jagweeds (as my friend Mary-Scott likes to say), and sometimes be soft.

The night of the movie, John and I talked on the way back to my place. As we veered into one topic that apparently was sensitive for both of us, the talk became a little tense and by the time we exited my car, we had a full-blown fight on our hands. John was making me crazy. Turns out I was a bit crazy-making myself.

Another thing we have in common.

I will not repeat the argument. Private stuff.

But I can summarize my side:   I was stubborn, I couldn’t listen. I was right and he was wrong and it’s so frustrating when the whole world doesn’t agree that I’m right. We should all agree on something, so can’t we agree that I am the wronged party? I closed down and was an ass.

When the big anger had spent itself and our argument neared its conclusion, someone had to step up and be the bigger man and it sure as hell wasn’t going to be me. John spoke quietly and said, “I love you, Edmond. I’m glad we’re the kind of friends who can argue like this.”

John often melts my heart.

But I was pretty fuckin’ pissed so I told him that I could not say back those words at that moment because I try not to say, ‘I love you’ when I’m angry. It’s one of my quirks, the little rules I make for myself. I withhold the words, giving me a stronger reason to make up later, so I can say those words back and mean it from the very strength and softness of my broken heart.

Some nights will be mine to carry our friendship but this night was his. He hugged me goodnight and he meant it. I hugged him back and I meant it, because I really did melt with his words.

I steamed over the next few days, reflecting on our argument, reflecting on what a good friend he is to me. A week passed, a whole weekend of McGriddles and by now I had had two of them and wanted to let John know that.

This past Tuesday night, John came to a workshop that a friend and I presented because John is the king of moral support. He’s the guy who shows up early on your panicked moving day and says, “I can do anything. Point me in a direction.”   He showed up Tuesday because, duh, why wouldn’t he? He’s the king of moral support.

After the workshop concluded, he and I carried materials to the car. We finally had a chance to talk for five minutes under the dark shade of night trees.

Making up after a fight is easier with other warriors but also harder too. I find New Warriors are less likely to hold a grudge and are willing to let me be a jagweed sometimes. But it’s also expected that I dig deeper and show some understanding as to why I was that way, the story behind the story, the hurt behind the anger. That can be harder, more vulnerable.

Still, I find it less confusing to navigate friendships with New Warriors because if you’re sad or upset and you feel silly for even talking about it in the first place, the friend will likely say, “Tell all of it. Once it’s all out there, you won’t have to worry about feeling stupid.”

And this seems to work.

I told John I was sorry for how I acted. I explained how my shadow was triggered by our fight, how my frustration with him came from a place of feeling inadequate. In a hurt voice, I asked him for feedback on my behavior, wanting to know how I hurt this friend I have come to love. It didn’t take 40 minutes to work through this fight, only five. Tuesday night, I said, “I love you, John. I’m really happy we’re friends.”

I felt joy when I said those words, and it also hurt to say this aloud because I had just finished explaining why I was an asshole to someone I love.

John offered to take me to the airport the next morning, for my work trip to San Diego.

On the way to the airport, I observed that it was 10:13 a.m. and if the security line moved quickly, I could almost make the McDonald’s breakfast cutoff. This prompted my explaining my McGriddle adventures and how the Counter Guy at my nearest McDonalds looked at me in wonder.

John said, “Did you get your McGriddle?”

“Yes! The manager heard me and she totally took pity on me. She touched her employee on the shoulder and said to me, ‘We’ll do it.”

We laughed about it in the car. I think she was amused, basically. I think she and Counter Guy were going to share a laugh right after I left. But I didn’t care:   she forgave my tardiness and I was getting a McGriddle! And, honestly, the crazed desire on my face was probably pretty damn funny.

Airport security line was amazingly light, except for the woman in front of me who remembered she packed a bottle of shampoo in her luggage with 24 zippered compartments.

I called John a few minutes after I got through airport security to inform him I had missed the airport McGriddle by four minutes – just four!

He laughed his strong, staccato laugh. I love to hear that guy laugh.

He said, “I’ll buy you a McGriddle when you get home from San Diego.”

I am forgiven.

One Response to “McGriddle Forgiveness”

  1. Edmond Manning » Blog Archive » Is There A Problem, Officer? Says:

    [...] While driving through Montana today, I relayed the incident by phone to my friend John. We howled at why a person would volunteer details on trunk cutlery. We snickered at my getting yet another speeding ticket, and my ongoing refusal to take ownership for my shadowy behavior. [...]

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