The Story of Father Time

Filed Under (Life, Musings) by on 02-13-2004

So I had a really interesting moment in my life today. I was able to get out of work a tad bit early today so I decided to swing by Carl’s Jr. and grab some lunch. I could tell by looking at him that he was different, just in the way he was acting and how he carried himself. That and the fact he turned to me to ask if the cabinet that the coffee maker behind the counter was slanted. I listened as he ordered because oddly enough I was intrigued by him. He kindly ordered one of their ninety-nine cent Ranch Bacon cheeseburgers and a cup of water. He then asked that they give him a cash receipt for his purchase. After ordering the man studied his receipt. I then moved forward to place my order when the man turned and asked the girl behind the counter what time she had. She said it was three something and then turned her attention back to me to take my order. I started to order when the man exclaims that the time on their receipt is wrong. The man starts going on a tangent about how his watch is always right and their clock is wrong. Upon completing my order the man turns to me, “Do you have a watch, yeah you have a watch. What time do you have?” Seeing no harm in answering him I told him it was 3:07. He goes on about how my watch is wrong, when he asked me if I was sure I said, “Pretty sure.” He goes on to ask me if I care if my watch is right and I told him with my watch I couldn’t precisely tell him the time due to the way it is set up. You see, my watch only has 12, 3, 6, and 9 labeled which means I can only get precise times in between. When the girl at the counter finished my order she told the man she didn’t understand what he wanted and motioned for him to speak to her manager who was working the drive-thru. He then began to badger the manager about the time on their registers being wrong. Exclaiming that his watch must be broke if that is actually the time. The guy behind me waiting for his food asked the guy if his rolex was busted. The man turned and said, “It’s a Timex, it’s always right and it keeps ticking!” The whole time I’m thinking, good job genius just egg the old guy on. I then went to fill my drink and at this point the old man is getting upset yelling, “I want to speak to a manager!” Sadly the manager, who clearly could care less about the gentleman’s concern continued to ignore his outbursts. She continued taking drive-thru orders and would not acknowledge the man at all. She then motioned for the girl to give the man his money back as well as his food. “Well great I got my food and my money back, but your clocks are still wrong,” he says. At this point I am sitting at my booth and praying that this whole incident is over. Of course, it wasn’t….

As I sit at the booth the woman in the booth across from me asks what the man was so upset about time for. I told her I had no clue, and we both just laughed. And then the best part of all, the old man decides to sit two booths down on the other side of the lady I had just spoke with. He then walks over to me and says, “Let’s ask this gentleman.” He was referring to the man sitting with the woman I had just spoke with. “What time does your watch have?” he asks. Cleverly the man replies, “My watch is fake.” The kooky old man thought he said his watch was big and then questioned to clarify. The man sitting in the booth said, “No, I’m big. The watch is fake.” I think he was attempting to intimidate the old guy in order to get him to leave the couple alone but it didn’t seem to work. The old man walked back to his seat and started eating. I hoped that this was the end of it. The old man then gets up after a couple of bites and says to me. “They opened a new McDonald’s up at Katella and Glassell. After it had been open for a few weeks I went over there to get something to eat and on the wall they have a clock. Instead of numbers it has the characters. It took my a while to figure it out, but I realized the clock was fast. I went to one of the employees and told him the clock was fast and asked him what the time was on the register. It too was fast. The guy at the counter told me the McDonald’s was trying to get a plaque on the wall for most employees on time. I told him that they weren’t all on time, because they’re clock was wrong.” The old guy then laughed and again walked back to his table.

I continued to eat and then after a few more bites the guy returned. “I went in the next week and everyday I said something about the time. Finally one of the employee’s did something about it and the clock on the wall was right, but some idiot made the clock on the registers five minutes slow. I asked for the manager and he told me that he had two jobs and since the clocks had been slow he was just barely making it to work on time. He told me that before he could go in to work and be like, hey Sam, hey Sam, hey Sam and have a cup of coffee. Now he gets in rushed and the people at work ask him if everything is ok at home since he seems so rushed. He told them it was because he was on McDonald’s time.” Again the guy walks away laughing and returns to his seat. At this point I just want to eat my food in peace and leave. I didn’t want to be mean to the man since he seemed to be very kind and wasn’t technically doing any harm other than making conversation. But of course he came back one last time. “That manager didn’t even say anything to me. They gave me my food in a bag even though I had asked for it for here. The receipt clearly said dine-in. Then they gave me my food on a tray and my money back but still had the wrong time on their clocks. If you can’t get the time right you can’t get anything right. What if I needed to catch a bus or something I’d be late. The time on the register at the Chevron down the street from McDonald’s is three minutes fast. If they can’t get the time right I bet you I can find something wrong in the bathroom.” The guy then walked away and headed into the men’s bathroom. I took this opportunity the scarf down the rest of my burger, throw away my trash, and booked it towards the door. I then hopped in my car, locked my doors, and floored it out of the parking lot in fear the guy would follow me out to talk to me more. While the guy was genuinely kind of creepy I found his time obsession to be intriguing. It was as though the whole world should revolve around his watch as thought it were the atomic clock. I was tempted to pull out my cell phone and give him the time since it is set off the atomic clock, but I didn’t want to cause the walls to fall in his little world.

I will from here on out refer to this story as The Story of Father Time…


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