Anyone that has been to California knows that one of the “must-dos” of the state is a trip to In-N-Out. Even if you don’t eat fast food, or you don’t eat meat, you still do it. They actually are very good at catering to people’s health and otherwise needs: they have a huge “secret” menu, available to anyone. Grilled cheese, veggie sandwiches, fresh and unprocessed fries…
Of course I think that’s about the only good thing about In-N-Out. Personally, I think it’s a little overrated.
If I am in the mood for a burger joint kind of place, I do usually go there. I don’t eat red meat, so the grilled cheese is pretty decent. It’s close. And more than anything, it’s cheap – my favorite thing. It’s relatively infrequent that I go, though, so you can imagine how truly over it I am after going twice in the last week.
Early last week, I hit up In-N-Out near my apartment in Camarillo on the way out of town for my little solo jaunt to Solvang, CA. The one near our place is my preference – it’s clean, in a good area, and during the week is especially quiet. Camarillo is something like a retirement community. Most of the people that live here either are super old or super young; young families that work outside of the area coupled with the geezers playing shuffleboard. In fact, the In-N-Out is directly across the street from a 50-and-over neighborhood. My experience was pretty laid back: there weren’t too many people around, a man brought his wife that worked there flowers and a birthday balloon, it started to get a little busy right before I left. Nothing too big, though.
Then today, my husband wanted to go to the In-N-Out nearby where we were shopping in the southern part of Oxnard. Those of you that have never been to the Ventura County (nestled between LA and Santa Barbara on the coast of California), Oxnard (particularly the south part) is the more ghetto of the community. There is a lot of gang activity. There is a pretty fair amount of crime. Being from Chicago, it’s sort of child’s play to me, but I still don’t mess around when people start flashing gang signs and swearing in languages I cannot even decipher.
Needless to say, my experience was a little different today than early last week.
Ordering Our Food
We got there and I had to pee. I always have to pee – my guinea pig has a larger bladder than I do. And I drink a lot of Diet Coke. So my husband got in line while I ran in to quickly use the bathroom. As I came out, I eeked my way through the line, saying “excuse me, my husband is up front” and when I got to him, this crazy-looking lady with a tattoo across her forehead said “hey, step the fuck back to the end of the line where you belong.”
I smiled and just stepped to the side, Nick already knew what I wanted anyway.
Finding Our Table
We originally planned on eating there. Then it was going to be t0-go because there was nowhere to sit; and only a second before we got our food did we find a table open up. This place was like the state of nature for seating. Everyone was fighting. A woman in a wheelchair started screaming at people to get out of her way so she could snag a table. As we left, I could see people all hovering over the tables that looked as though they were about ready to finish. I overheard two guys in maintenance uniforms laughing about how badly people wanted their seats and how much they weren’t budging until their lunch break was completely over.
Getting Our Ketchup
So around the time I went to get our ketchup, napkins, and little packets of salt was when shit really started to go down. I was pumping the ketchup out of their old-style ketchup pump into these little, paper cups they provide when this woman shoved me to the side so she could have more room to slop ketchup directly onto her tray of animal-style fries. She pumped and pumped and pumped and it was slopped all over the tray. I kept thinking to myself ‘am I mad this woman shoved me or angry because of the mess she’s making for these poor employees to clean up?’
As I turned to walk away – having finished pumping my own meager supply of ketchup compared to hers – she turned and smacked me so hard in the boobs with her purse that I was pretty sure some after-jiggle occurred. Those of you that are women with big boobs know what I’m talking about – when you run without a bra, or laugh too hard in your pajamas … after-jiggle.
Eating Our Food
There is nothing about the food that is too spectacular to report. As I said, In-N-Out is a little overrated in my book. I had the grilled cheese again today, along with some fries and a Diet Coke (of course).
As I sat eating, though, I continued to peruse around the busy restaurant. People were lined out the door at that point. All registers were open and employees were screaming – literally screaming – at each other, it was just that loud in there. My husband and I don’t have shit to talk to each other about over meals anymore. Unless it’s about his day at work or some bullshit I want to complain about, usually he’s too busy hogging his food down like it’s feeding time at the barnyard to get in a word edgewise. So I continued to look around, only to find (to my dismay) that the guy sitting next to us was reading a book called “Dealing With Your Psychopathy.”
Real fucking nice.
Leaving The Shithole, Never To Return
As always happens, the real “event” of it all didn’t happen until the end, as we were about to leave. I know what you’re saying – some ugly ass bitch with a tattoo across her forehead telling you to “step the fuck back” wasn’t an event? Being shoved and smacked in the boobs for the sake of a tray full of ketchup was not an ordeal?
Not compared to Turd Girl.
Right before we left, a little girl and her mom sat down at the table next to us. The tables are in pretty close proximity to each other, so I could hear their every word. Her dad was waiting for a table near them to open up so that he too could sit down. They decided to just start porking down their food anyway.
Turd Girl couldn’t have been any older than five; six tops. Nonetheless, she was shoveling a double-double (a double cheeseburger) and animal-style fries (french fries covered in secret sauce, cheese, and grilled onions) down her itty-bitty gullet. And then she said the words that made her earn her title: “Huhuhuh … mom, my fries look like the turd I dropped this morning.”
Are you fucking kidding me?
I thought her mom was going to say something; oh, I don’t know, like that she should speak a little more lady-like in public. If it were me I would have smacked those animal-style fries right out of her hands. Turd Girl’s mom did nothing but laugh, though. Together, they laughed and laughed and laughed at just how much the french fries they continued to shove into their mouths looked like human feces.
So about that In-N-Out. It attracts a particular kind of crowd – at least the one in south Oxnard. The only other one I’ve been to has been in Hollywood with my friend Jeremy – quite a few years ago, while he was out on a visit. I remember we were sitting there eating when all of a sudden a bridal party came in to get In-N-Out after their wedding ceremony. The bride looked about 18; the groom was wearing a blinged-out baseball cap. This is why I don’t eat fast food.