"The inventor of the egg mcmuffin passed away today at the age of 89. Moment of silence, please."
Very few things are happier than pulling into the drive-thru to order a #1 breakfast meal (Egg McMuffin) with a large OJ and an extra hashbrown.
The McDonald's breakfasts were not available in China until just recently, so when I first moved to Beijing, I was bereft.
Eight months after moving to Beijing, my first trip out of Asia was a quick trip to Brisbane, where I made it my mission to collect my rental car and head for the first sighted golden arches so I could get my fix.
Of course, the first thing I did was cut in line (I had acclimated a bit TOO well to China) and was yelled at by a big burly surfer dude. I pretended I didn't speak English and told him in Mandarin that he was fat and that his mother was a bad egg. I then felt vaguely guilty that I was single-handedly propagating the image of the non-personal-space-and line-respecting Asian tourist.
I told this story to my Chinese teacher, CZ, who nodded sagely, already familiar (from other of her American students) that in much of America (and most especially in NYC), line-cutting is on par with murder.
But here's something interesting: McDonald's is widely credited for beginning to teach the all important skill of queuing in China. When the golden arches first started popping up there, they hired all for the usual sorts of roles necessary for running fast food restaurants. But they also hired a cadre of additional people whose sole job was to browbeat the customers into standing in orderly lines. Even today in mainland China, there are no orderly lines at the bank, or the subway ticket counter, or the market. But walk into a Mickey D's? Beautiful lines aplenty.
And I mean really, isn't that what civilization is all about? The ready availability of toilet paper and diet coke, and respect for queuing.
And, of course, egg mcmuffins.