As a lifelong commuter, here’s a situation I’ve found myself in more times than I’d like to admit:
It’s 6 p.m. and I’ve just gotten out of work (or class or internship or whatever) and I. Am. Starving. With a capital “Sta.” I don’t want to wait for dinner and chances are when I get home, I’ll just have to bury myself in more work anyway, so I do the only logical thing and head to the nearest watering hole to pick myself up a little something-something—you know, just to keep me and my fat ass company for the next 45 minutes.
And after doing this for a while now, I can proudly say I’ve learned a few things. Here’s a brief (by no means inclusive) list of foods I’ve learned it sucks to eat on a long drive home:
Now I’m not talking about all burritos. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that Taco Bell has absolutely perfected car food. Their tacos and burritos are more tortilla than meat and their Crunchwrap Supreme is definitive proof that God loves everybody, even the chronically one-handed. No, no, I’m talking about you, Chipotle. And you, quasi-authentic Mexican place I still get embarrassed trying to pronounce the name of. Your food is amazing, but when I’m fiending for some Carne Asada on the way home and everything just falls out everywhere after the first bite, ain’t nobody happy. Especially not my seat covers.
Could you make a messier sandwich? I mean, I know all breads slough crumbs, but these baguettes do not leave behind crumbs. They leave behind bread shrapnel. Lots of it. Without fail, each and every bite I take sets off hundreds of invisible mines, sending piece after piece of French-Ameri-Viet fusion hurtling toward my carpets, where they remain buried for weeks until I find the time to pick them out with my bare hands. Plus there’s the smell. Jesus.
I know you’re trying baby, and I appreciate that, I do. It literally warms my heart every time I’m pulling through the drive-thru and the cute little In-N-Out girl with her silly hat smiles at me and asks whether or not I’ll be eating in the car, but let’s be real. Them wrappers is difficult. This is not a burger you can eat with one hand. Instead you’re caught pinky and palm on the wheel, all spare fingers barely holding onto that Double-Double-y goodness, while your free hand tries gently to peel back layer after layer of wax wrapping so your next bite isn’t just a mouthful of paper. Which, if you haven’t tried it, is actually pretty damn difficult to do. The only saving grace here are the fries, which are easy, and are probably the only reason I haven’t stopped doing this yet, in spite of all the car safety laws I know I’m breaking. YO-freaking-LO.
Just kidding. I do not suggest or recommend drinking and driving. That would be dumb.
Any saucy/greasy or otherwise obnoxiously messy handheld thing
This is probably the saddest one on this list. This is what I eat when I hate the world and I hate myself and I really really really just need something battered and bathed in pig fat. In all seriousness though, eating this stuff while driving sucks. If you’re anything like me, chances are the guilt from buying the two dozen garlic parmesan wings is enough to convince you to try and be neat and hold the things with a napkin—which would, of course, ultimately fail, leaving you with dozens if not hundreds of little greasy finger prints all over your steering wheel, door handle and stick shift. Yeah, not pretty. And yeah, I’m driving stick.
Now, there are definitely foods that don’t suck to eat as a commuter. There are french fries and Taco Bell, as we’ve said. There are KFC chicken wraps, if you’re into that. In my perfect world, every rush hour craving would be for Panda Express.
First of all, the two-item entree comes in a huge box that can sit comfortably on my lap. Second of all, as long as you get the right things, you can stick it all with a fork—it’s amazing. So thank you Panda, for being the most commuter-friendly food I can think of (at least for the moment). Thank you Orange Chicken. Thank you steamed rice. Thank you, most of the things on the Panda Express menu. Except you, fried rice, you and your oily, slippery, un-forkable bullsh*t. You can go suck a fat one.