Monday, July 14, 2008

That's Mr. Burger to you

I had a busy morning yesterday.  After a couple hours of running various errands around town, I found myself starving.  But I had little time to eat before a 10 AM photo shoot. I really just wanted to grab some quick eggs in order to stay on the low carb diet I've been on.  

This diet often poses a problem when I'm eating on the go because most of the normal fast food joints have more grams of carbohydrates per serving than the pretzels that George Bush chokes on...I can't eat the stuff.  And if I did eat all those carbs I'd probably pass out like George did, only to find myself awakened like he a dog licking my face.

Given the time constraints I thought I'd have to go to the photo shoot on an empty stomach, so I started to head to the location.  But then...there it was...on the left side of the street...rising like a the crest of hill near downtown Grand Rapids...was a Mr. Burger.

Mr. Burger is a place I hadn't been in probably 10 years.  But as I recall they usually served breakfast faster than Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick can send text messages...(I digress) I pulled in for a to speak.

True to past form, my eggs and sausage order arrived at my booth before I did. Upon settling in I looked around the restaurant. The place was busy, and I had forgotten how Mr. Burger always struck me as a lot like high school...but Mr. Burger is high school for old people.  It's as if this is the place where all the retirees in Grand Rapids are sent to hang out.

Like high school, the retirees seem to still gather in small gangs. Over in the far corner of the restaurant was a small clique of giggly old gals talking about iron deficiency and the best arch supports.  A few booths down from them in a prime window seat were two really old guys with suspenders and trucker hats who flirtatiously chatted up any of the waitresses that strolled by (like Brett Favre, it would seem many of the Mr. Burger staff have also come in and out of retirement many times).

Next to my booth was one of those long-married couples that didn't speak a word to each other the entire time...they just quietly sipped their coffee...content to sit in their comfortable silence. And not too far away was a widower talking to another married couple about how soaring gas prices limited her trips to Walgreens, church and Mr. Burger (the holy trinity no doubt).

But no matter where they sat or who they talked to, the retirees all had one thing in common; a deep and passionate thirst for decaf coffee...a thirst much like I used to have for Mountain Dew when I roamed the halls of Northview High School back in '86.

I arrived at my photo shoot nearly on time...just 5 minutes late...still thinking about the social structure of this little restaurant where the burgers wear small top hats and curiously large bow ties...that's Mister Burger to you.


jbuist said...

By far one of the best blog posts I have read in a long time! Thank you for making my afternoon far more amusing!

BradKellyFilms said...

Loved the post, Brian! Great observations.

I also found the last photo of the Mr. Burger building architecturally interesting.

A fine example of what is known as the Mid-70's Mid-American Suburban Ennui school of commercial architecture.

Also known in architecture lingo as "looks cool in blue-prints and as little architectual models under plexi-glass but slowly drains your soul of it's life force to have to live near it."