OK, for those of you who believe my editorial should be steeped in the tradition of hot rods, dry lakes, Bonneville, rod runs, road tours, weekend events, and donut fests, well ... not so this month! It has long been the plight of the magazine staffer to find sustenance, peace of mind, and rest for the weary body wherever and whenever he (or she) can. Ours is a life of fast food, delayed planes, crowded roads, and burgeoning beltlines. In this modern day all of the above remains true, but now we cannot escape the "home office," as cell phones, wireless computers, and BlackBerries attach us. As for the oh-too-familiar hotel rooms ... ugh--it isn't the glamorous life many would think, although it does beat working for a living!
For starters, why am I so excited about this month? Fair question. It seems one of my favorite eateries is about to undergo some amazing changes. Now when I stop for a burger and fries (wife tells me it should be the Asian chicken salad), I will have a familiar place to huddle when on the road. A place where I can limber up my fingers, warm up my computer while logging on via the latest Wi-Fi connections, and begin to commute via the airwaves with those landlocked at the office. All those worker bees and here I am on the road living (la vida loca) the good life the way it was meant to be. I will be able to have my burger and wireless simultaneously, and then sit back and thoroughly enjoy writing about the latest rodding haps, viewing and admiring all those digital photos, shipping my byline via the electronic airwaves, all the while nestled up all cozy and comfy. Ah, those poor underlings stuck at work while I'm on the road at my most favorite of favorite places--McDonald's. Surly you can't tell me there is a better place to eat three squares? Now I can relax, spend some quality leisure time, magically get some work done, and all in the comfort of a deeply cushioned arm chair. Ah, if FedEx only picked up while I relax in the supine position.
Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald's in Des Plaines, Illinois, in 1955; now there are a reported 30,000 restaurants worldwide. According to McDonald's historians, hundreds of these drive-up franchises were sold around the country, and by '63 the king of the fast food chains had sold its one-billionth burger.
My high school days were followed by my college days followed by my traveling journalist days, many ending in a meal beneath the Golden Arches. According to sources, my dinner table away from home is scheduled for an extensive makeover that includes a dining area divided into three distinct sections. The "linger" zone, appropriately named for magazine types, is destined to be outfitted with comfortable armchairs, sofas, and Wi-Fi connections. Look out--so much for working in the office ever again. You now know where to find me should you want your car featured in STREET RODDER. Then there is the "grab and go" zone, aptly named for the male automotive journalist, designed to feature tall counters with bar stools for customers who eat alone (again designed with the magazine staffer in mind). There will be plasma TVs to catch up on news and weather reports--ironically, the single most important bit of information for the camera-equipped journalist. And then there is the "flexible" zone; basically this is the family zone, a place where more and more magazine staffers reside and will be learning more about with their kids and their grandkids. Yep, many of us on this side of the keyboard have grown up with a Mickey D's burger in one hand and a camera in the other. It's only fitting that now it's our kids, our kids' kids, and old guys like me who can have a comfortable, familiar place to continue to pen our rodding legacy.