The Golden Arches

There is a McDonald’s right next to our local grocery store. I’ve been known to stop there from time to time, though not too often of course. I know, I know….McDonalds is bad for you, blah blah blah, whine whine whine.
How do you know that what I’m having at McDonalds isn’t good for me?? You don’t, so politely shut it!!

This isn’t about me and my trip to McDonalds though…this is about one woman’s trip there.

I do not know who she is. I do not know her name. I don’t know how often she frequents that establishment or what her favorite combo #meal is.

But I do know that she was sitting in her car, all alone. I do know that she was demolishing down on some sort of large burger with the large fries on the dashboard. I do know that just by glancing at this woman sitting in her car that she was majorly obese.

Part of me started to cry for her. I wanted to stop my car and go over to her and ask her WHY?!?! WHY are you sitting here, alone, in a McDonald’s parking lot, eating alone?? WHY do you not love yourself?? WHY do you think you are not worth better??

I remembered, and seriously, I’m not just trying to bring up my Oprah moment here, but on the show I was on they talked to a woman who used to do just this…eat alone in her car. BINGE alone in her car. Was this woman in the same place in her life??

My heart truly felt for this woman.

But the truth of the matter is…I don’t know that woman’s story. Maybe she *doesn’t* frequent McDonalds often. Even though she had New York license plates, maybe she lived out of town and just wanted to grab something quick. Maybe this is just a little treat she does for herself every so often.

If I was so go sit alone in the parking lot, and eat my Grilled Southwest chicken salad in my car, under the golden arches…would people feel sorry for me?? Would they know that I’m a runner?? That I’ve lost 101 lbs?? That I *USED* to be a McChicken & McDouble & large fry kind of gal but now I’m a Grilled Southwest Chicken Salad lover who every couple of months will treat herself to small fry??

No, they don’t. Nobody who just crosses our paths for only a moment ever knows our true stories. Maybe, this day was just a real shitty day for that woman, and god knows we all have those…


  1. You are so very right that we never know another person's story, until they tell us themselves (and even then, sometimes...). Yesterday I picked up a book at the bookstore, "The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted." I flipped it open and the first chapter opened with (OF COURSE) a tirade against (OF COURSE) Weight Watchers. I could feel the steam coming out of my ears but the thing that made me the most upset was, "...all the thin women who have no business being in WW." HOW DOES SHE KNOW their story? That could be a woman who just lost 100+ lbs and is now at Lifetime.

    Chances are good that the woman you saw was in a lot of pain. But maybe not.

  2. Funny you posted about McD's. I am watching Super Size Me at this very moment! lol. Anyways, I have seen people do that before I too think WHY?!! But as you said, maybe it was just a very bad day. I am sooo thankful that I do not do that anymore.

  3. We caption photos with words for a reason. Sometimes the public is too clueless to understand what it sees. I have been on both sides of the situation you presented.

  4. I have eaten alone in my car before by choice. It's quiet there. =)

    That's all. Nothing profound to add.

  5. Great blog Suzi. Your entries recently have been really touching for me


  6. Maybe she wants to eat a burger and fries in peace without being judged... would you have said the same thing about a thin woman eating a burger and fries in McDonald's?

  7. Interesting perspective. I know one person who eats in her car alone and it always surprised me. I had never related it to binge eating, though. I would so much rather be inside people watching and enjoying the AC than sitting in my car.

  8. Oh, also, I refuse to eat McDonald's period. Especially after I found out they put a foaming agent in their chicken nuggets in the US, but not in Europe (because they won't allow it in Europe). Gross!

  9. Suzi, I get you whole heartedly on this. One of my main reasons for returning to WW this last time was to try and get my morbidly obese sister to join me. She didn't make more than a few weeks and my heart breaks everytime I am with her because I know how others judge her and how she is killing herself with her indulgences. Sometimes its hard to turn a blind eye.

  10. I don't judge other folks (even though I'm awesome at judging... really!), but it's hard to hard your tongue when you see somebody doing that to themselves or loading up a grocery cart with a bunch of processed crapola. It's hard enough to help people who ask for help, who reach out for help...

  11. To:
    Anonymous said...
    Maybe she wants to eat a burger and fries in peace without being judged... would you have said the same thing about a thin woman eating a burger and fries in McDonald's?

    Thats my entire my point of this post...she *shouldnt* be judged. Nobody knows why she was there eating alone in car...maybe she just fucking felt like it, who knows. But the truth of the matter is, when you see people like that doing those actions, its hard to not to *want* to wonder if there are deep emotional issues there.
    As far what you said about what would I say if it was a "thin" person...well thats exactly what I said at the end of my post now isnt it...

  12. I always hate going to places like that as a bigger person cause you know you're being judged!

    A lot of the time I'll goto Dunkin' Donuts with my aunt (who is much smaller than me) and I KNOW the person giving us our coffee thinks IM the one drinking the coffee with extra sugar and extra cream becasue I'm the bigger guy. Little does s/he know I'm the one drinking the one with a splash of milk and two splenda.

    Also, I agree with Lesley

  13. I remember that women from the show you were on Suzi. It reminded me of my "WTF am I doing" moment that I wrote about here: I've been on both sides of the windshield. I feel both sides.

  14. I remember being that woman. For me it wasn't McDonald's but it was fast food. But you are 100%, Suzi. We don't know her story.

  15. actually, regardless of weight, no one should be stuffing their faces at Mcdonalds its crap food and everyone eats way too much of it.

  16. Great post! Have a wonderful rest of your weekend!!

  17. Hm. I do this on a frequent basis. I don't hate myself. I'd just rather park the car than drive it while I'm eating. I also can't afford much else and it's right next to where I work.

    I never thought people actually thought I hated myself because I sit in the car when I eat fast food.


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