There is a joke in Dallas… it goes like this, “Whenever you ask someone for directions, they always start ‘Get on Beltline…’.” And it’s true.
I live a handful of short blocks north of Beltline, so I know that endless loop well. Less than a mile to the West, on Beltline, of course,
is was a McDonald’s. I have been in that place exactly once, when we first moved in, before our internet and water was hooked up. I went in there for coffee and wifi.
Now when my kids were little, we went to McDonald’s (and various other fast-food emporiums) all the time. Not for the food, per se, but for the ball pits and climbing tunnels. My kids were connoisseurs of fast-food ball pits. They would sit around at home discussing the comparative merits of all the local McDonald’s vs. Burger King. They would arrive at a decision and off we would go. When driving long distances they would spot a unique climbing structure out the speeding windows and we would have to stop. Candy would walk to another place, any place, and get food – she could not stand McDonald’s… no matter how fun the ball pit was.
But the kids had outgrown all that before we moved here. Shame, because that McDonald’s had a really nice climbing structure in a huge glass enclosure out front. (Google Maps Streetview from before the demolition). At any rate, I had no reason to go there and had only been there that once.
Still, though, I drove or biked past it at least twice a day for years and years and it had blended into the daily background of my life.
Then, one day, coming home from work, it was gone. There was nothing there except a pile of rubble.
It was a shock. There were the plastic tunnels all bulldozed and torn asunder. It was like finding a body in the yard – like someone you knew slightly had died. Of course, the neighborhood email list went into a frenzy of indignation and fear – nobody knew what had happened.
Of course, this is Dallas (or at least a suburb), and nothing is allowed to rest for long. The rubble was gone in a couple days and already, concrete is being poured. I assume it will be another McDonald’s – probably bigger and better.
But I bet the food will be the same.
There is another Dallas joke. “There are only two seasons in Dallas, Football and Construction.”