the line of cars twisted halfway around the building, like one of those magnetic healing bracelets. people were damn-near tailgating in the parking lot, swinging red and white bags bulging with variations on roast beef and bun. on arrowhead, car after car after car, a strobe of left blinkers.
so. we got an arby's, which i guess means we are one culinary step closer to being recognized as a suburb of minneapolis. i haven't seen the pedestrians rally this merrily since the day the sky opened and dropped an olive garden atop a hill by the mall.
i wasn't intimately acquainted with the time table for arby's construction. but, as this new fast food restaurant is in jcrew's voting district, she informed me yesterday that NATIONAL ARBY'S COMES TO DULUTH DAY had finally arrived. we spent 7 minutes discussing what she was going to shove in her face for dinner, complete with nutritional information. [jcrew's sixth sense is that she can immediately tell you how many calories you are holding in your hand, and what percent of said calories are fat calories. this is why i only eat water in front of her]. later, she called to tell me she had aborted the plan because she refused to stand in line for an hour.
"seriously," she said. "it looks like someone opened a dollar store in central hillside."
me? i have on occasion veered off the highway in blaine for a quick gnosh. and when i lived in rochester, i have a vivid memory of sitting in an arby's parking lot and satiating pre-menstral cravings with fistfulls of jalapino bites. and, okay fine, i've driven 40 minutes to the outskirts of superior so that soothing arby's dinner-mitt mascot -- or whatever the hell it is -- could massage my alcohol-stained liver. but i don't need an arby's, per se. what i neeeeed is a bagal shop that stays open late.
chuck, it turns out, had never been to an arby's. nor was he aware of the extensive appetizer menu or that an arby's sauce-horsey sauce combo oozing from your roast beef sandwich has all the delicious pagentry of a christmas parade IN YOUR MOUTH!
then, as i tried to sell arby's to him, i accidentally sold it to myself.
it is amazing to me, the events that will draw duluthians away from college week on wheel of fortune. for instance, there were more dull-eyed zombies trolling the perimeter of arby's tonight than for a pretty drunk rock the block last august. [maybe cars and trucks should start tossing out packets of horsey sauce from the stage].
arby's was chaos. dozens of people holding the equivilent of lottery numbers, waiting for their orders. one barking auctionier, i assume the manager, flapping his arms and calling out to the winners. i ordered two roast beef sandwiches and an order of cheese sticks. it was a bit spendy. i looked at my receipt and thought: i knew i should have gone to thai krathong.