Friday, November 29, 2013

Unexpected Joys of the Dissertation: Thanksgiving Dinner at McDonald’s

Today I did something I have never done in my entire life: I spent over 12 consecutive hours in a McDonald’s restaurant. To make the experience even more memorable, it was Thanksgiving Day.

As a writing venue, this particular McDonald’s had several things going for it. Most importantly, unlike most of my usual haunts, it was open. Also, since this was a college town, it had been designed to accommodate students who needed a quiet place to work. Like most McDonald’s (hmmm….what is the proper way to pluralize a possessive proper noun?), the main part of the facility had several televisions blaring and was not conducive to studying. But this particular McDonald’s, instead a playland for kids, has a large quiet study room, with a variety of seating options and plenty of electrical outlets. A glass wall seals the study room off from the noisy part of the restaurant.

As an additional plus, the service was friendly, much friendlier than I have found in my rare visits to a big city McDonald’s. I was pleasantly surprised by the food, particularly the Homestyle Burger…it was really good! So was the Peppermint Latte (I had two.)

The one drawback of the quiet study room was the temperature. It was freezing!! Fortunately, I was somewhat prepared. I had multiple jackets, sweatshirts, and blankets. (I learned that lesson last weekend, when I had to borrow a writing blanket from a friend who lives in town.) I also had a pair of writing gloves (gloves without fingers). I purchased the gloves last night, in anticipation of a cold writing session. In the last six months, thanks to a kind husband and total immersion in the dissertation, I have only made a half-dozen or so visits to grocery/retail stores. One of those visits was last night, and it’s a good thing I did it. I should have looked for an electric blanket too.

During the day, most of the McDonald’s patrons appeared to be college students. Some stayed quite a while (though I outlasted nearly all of them). I suspect I may have been the only one born and raised in the U.S.A. In the evening, the clientele changed…more teenagers and children. I wonder if they were getting ready for Black Friday shopping?

A friend heard I was in town to write, and invited me to her home for Thanksgiving dinner. The friend, also a graduate student, understood perfectly that I could not commit to a specific time, that I might show up anytime or not at all, and that writing my dissertation took priority over eating a holiday dinner. But apparently my friend’s mother was horrified that I was spending Thanksgiving at McDonalds’s. I think my friend had to forcibly restrain her mom from delivering turkey and stuffing to me.

Speaking of moms, my mom and my husband ate Thanksgiving dinner together at Golden Corral, eighty-plus miles away. Since I ate under the Golden Arches, we were all together in spirit.

A year and a half ago, I wondered if I could find joy in the dissertation writing process. Today, I did.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Important note: Only 56 minutes of writing time were used to create and edit this blog post.
(Those who know me well are aware that I am engaged in a constant battle with perfectionism. This note is to reassure them I have not relapsed.)

4 comments:

Joyce Boatright said...

I know you are THANKFUL that you are in the home stretch. Woo-hoo! A Thanksgiving to remember!!!

houstonmacbro said...

What an inspiration.

Bruce

Jen T said...

Thanks, Joyce and Bruce,for stopping by. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Dave Renfro said...

The McDouble is a terrific value at only $1.19.