Awhile ago, I decided to change the title of my list. Rather than “Things I Miss about the US,” I have started calling it, “Things I Will Never Take for Granted Again.” It’s a subtle difference but slightly less mournful. Today’s addition to the list? The Drive Through. In Geneva, there are no drive-throughs. There is one in Annemasse which is just across the border in France. It opens at 10:30 and closes at 6 or something. And it is a McDonald’s, not my favorite. I drove through once or twice when I got really homesick but for the most part, I park and go in to every store.
Houston was the opposite. When we lived in Houston, I drove through at least one every day and not just for food- Starbucks, the pharmacy, dry cleaning, the bank, etc. I could basically do everything from the air-conditioned comfort of my car. Once, when we had first moved down from New York, I noticed the line for the drive up ATM was really long so I parked and went into the bank. They did not even have an ATM inside. That is how many people chose to walk in- zero. In New York, no one drives but everything is so dense, you can walk to all these places leaving your toddler in the stroller. I guess parts of Geneva are like New York but it’s a smaller city and things are farther apart. And you have to go to lots of places to get everything you’re looking for- peppers at one, corn chips at another, etc. They just don’t seem to prioritize convenience.
And while I know this driving has led to rises in unhealthy lifestyles and pollution, it is just so easy. I could put Forest in his car seat and get everything done. Each store seems to be separated from one another here and I have to drive to, park, get out, retrieve a cart, get Forest from his car seat, corral him into said cart, go in, run the actual errand, return the shopping cart (because you get your two franc deposit back), put Forest in the car and then leave. I have to allot double or triple the amount of time for errands now. I’ve started ordering groceries online which is helpful because it’s one less store to go to and go through the procedure. And I know this makes me sound like a lazy American (I wish I were not so typical) and I promise that if I get to live in the land of drive throughs again, I will not use this luxury every time. But, maybe like half the time. It would be a lifesaver to just have a drive through ATM. There are many times I’m grateful for the way Geneva has made us slow down and enjoy life at a proper speed- live in the moment, if you will. Unfortunately, I do not really want to live in the moment of getting cash from a machine. Add one to my list of things we should all be grateful for.