The other day, February 14th, I went to McDonald’s to use the Wi-Fi and sit in relative obscurity. I entered the building and my eyes were immediately assaulted by red and white balloons, pink swathes of sheer fabric, rose petals strewn across the floor and candles on the window ledges. What is going on? A fast food chain, where not many people in the US would take a Valentines Date, has been turned into a Hallmark Card.
I took this all in with a wry smile and checked to see if my normal corner table near one of the two outlets was free. Much to my amazement, the corner had been turned into a lovers nook. More of the sheer pink fabric was draped around the table, secluding it from the rest of the space. On the table was a plethora of rose petals and two candles. Albeit no one was sitting at the table, but it looked to not be a place for people to actually sit (this was later proven true when I overheard a waiter telling a Georgian couple “ar shedzliba” not possible).
I had seen couples on dates at the McDonald’s before, but I did not put two and two together. Couples plus Valentine’s Day would mean a busy McDonalds. The tables were packed and I was hard pressed to find a seat, let alone one within reach of the outlet.
Today was clearly not a day I could get away with sitting, using the Wi-Fi and not ordering anything. I staked out a spot and waited my turn to order “erti chiize” (one cheeseburger). As I sat down to consume my false meat and catch up on email, a Georgian couple squeezed into the the table next to me. They gave me sidelong glances as they ate their fries and took photos of each-other on their phones. The woman kept glancing at my computer and the man began to explain that there was Wi-Fi that I was using to get the internet. The man then decided to ask me where I was from in decent English, ask what I was doing in Georgia and if I had teaching experience. After every answer he translated for his girlfriend/wife.
At this point, I had finished what I needed to do online and was feeling extra out of place and awkward, so I packed up and headed home- opening a table for a new couple to woo at.