I've spent a lot of time on the road in my past life a salesman. I have sipped coffee, had iced tea, soft drinks, and even eaten complete meals while exceeding the posted speed limit. In a white shirt and dress slacks. While on the way to meetings. With no top on the beverage. Ever.
That may sound strange, but I could also eat chicken wings in a white shirt that (because of unexpected schedule changes) I had to wear the next day, and give a presentation in. Never a drop or stain would mar my clothes. (Well, there was that one time...)
I haven't been traveling for money for some time now. Once we started looking for boats and spending time behind the wheel again, and especially since we have a boat that is five hours from our house, I noticed a change in the quality of the foam cups that fast food restaurants use. They have become thinner and, well, flimsy.
I blame the people who drink through a...straw. (To be fair, I wish I was the straw salesperson who came up with this strategy. It is both nefarious and genius.)
I noticed this phenomenon starting in the early seventies. People who would, at home, simply pick up their glass, place lips on rim, and drink as God intended, changed their behavior when they got to a restaurant. They started ordering a straw with their drink. Soon, the harried wait staff simply placed a straw down on the table rather than make two trips. Then, they started putting the straw into the drink without even asking, cleverly tearing the paper so they never actually touched the straw, and leaving a little on top for the patron to remove.
It seemed harmless enough.
Then came the time saving invention of the drive through window. No longer did you have to leave your car to go inside to eat. You could do it all while sitting in the comfort of your driver's seat. In addition to the already issued straw, however, there was added the lid, with the pre-machined portal through which to pass the straw, adding (thought the nanny-state restaurateurs) an additional level of spill protection. Don't get me wrong, I was all for it, but I still wanted to drink my drink just like I did at home. My philosophy was that if I was not a good enough driver to drink a drink and safely drive without spilling it, I needed to stop one or the other. It took very little time to remove the lid and straw, and proceed with my life.
And so the years passed
Then, one day, some engineer (spurred on, no doubt, by some bean counter looking to save money on cups) realized that all of the cups going out the window had...lids. Any engineer knows that a box is stronger than a bucket. (Take a shoe box, hold it on each end, and twist it. Then put the lid on and do the same thing. This is why convertibles are more expensive than sedans.) And having a lid means the wall thickness can be decreased to the point that if you take the lid off and pick up the cup, the wall will flex to the point of failure.
But no one takes the lid off. Right?
So now Carol has yelled at me several times. We have cleaned tea off the dash, out of the cup holders, off the carpet, and, once, I was glad it was raining so I did not have to wash the actual car.
And I am learning to drink out of a straw.