Heretical to say, I know, but I find something comforting about McDonalds.
Not all the time. But mornings, when they’re quiet. When I was young – really young – there was only one McDonalds in the UK, in Picadilly Circus. But when I was young – really young – we lived in Canada.
Really young memories – really old memories, I guess – are all out of focus images and sounds without meaning, bright colours and bright feelings. Big, broad feelings that fill the big bold world. A life drenched in primary colours and primary emotion. A life all made of love and comfort and fear, and confusion. Memories out of focus.
We took a road trip across the Rockies, saw Niagara and Yellowstone; I mainly remember constantly breaking my Ernie toy and mum forever sewing him back together, my brothers telling me it wasn’t pronounced ‘Essesso’ but ‘Esso’ and me ignoring them. I remember a love of Jon Deere tractors and a fascination with the striding, alien grain elevators.
A dragonfly in the garden. Snow. How I hated the sound of the rain hammering against my buggy’s plastic cover. The peanut you get on top of Skippy Peanut Butter, which mum would always give me as a treat. Mum, dancing to Carole King.
They had playgrounds, the McDonalds. And I remember my brothers playing with me; some great white spinning memory, the roundabouts you get in kids playgrounds. Then we had to go and I didn’t want to go, maybe I was crying, I didn’t want to leave the fun behind.
And my brothers had to remind me and convince me that there’s always more fun to be had.
You get older, and things get names and memories get sharper and colours get fainter. The world grows history and meaning and symbolism and all the hidden depths get deeper and all the surface gets thinner, until it seems all the world is just names and memories, symbols and meaning. And you forget how drenched in colour the world is, really is. You forget how big and broad the sky is and how wild feelings can be, when you’re here, when you’re now. Remembering only when you’re kissing, or fucking, or high, and then you stop.
And you don’t even cry because you don’t even notice you’ve left the fun behind.