McDonald’s restaurant Hinton
Photographs ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

Was I Too Blinded By Hunger to Read This Sign Correctly?

A fter spending yet another full day driving and stopping at places of interest in the Rocky Mountains in Canada, I was ready to get some sleep at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Hinton hotel property — but I had not eaten dinner yet.

In fact, I had basically not eaten much food all day. The incredible scenery and landscape in Banff National Park, Jasper National Park and Yoho National Park tended to have distracted me from most bodily functions.

Yes — that one too.

Anyway, the sun did not completely set until after 11:00 in the evening; and after negotiating the extensive construction zone on Trans-Canada Highway 16 in Jasper National Park as I drove northeast towards Hinton, I began wondering if any options for dinner will even be available that late in Hinton. I probably should have stopped off in Jasper to eat — but it was too late at that point. Besides, I was not seeking anything fancy. Although I rarely eat fast food, it would fit the bill on that night: quick, cheap and filling.

Was I Too Blinded By Hunger to Read This Sign Correctly?

Upon arriving into Hinton on Trans-Canada Highway 16 — which is also known as Yellowhead Highway — a McDonald’s restaurant appeared on the left.

I pulled into the parking lot and up to the signs…

McDonald’s restaurant Hinton
Photographs ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

…and in white and yellow type, the blue sign displayed this message:

dining room & drive thru
24 hours

Okay — that sounded good to me. At approximately 11:45 at night, not too many options were available anyway…

…so I parked the car and walked up to the glass door to pull it open.

Knunk. Knunk.

Hmm, I thought to myself. This must be one of those times during which I am attempting to pull open a door that I should be pushing; so I try to push the door open.

Knunk. Knunk.

The door was apparently locked. “Knunk Knunk” my you-know-what.

I return to the sign to read it. My interpretation of what it says remains the same.

I have no choice but to use the drive-through to place an order. I start the car and pull up to the speaker embedded in the illuminated sign which displays the menu.

Smishy whashy Hello mishy mashy place garble ffffff order grilunk?”


Washle washle place your schmigroggle clickrunk order?”

This was going to be fun.


I must have spent at least twenty minutes trying to place my order; but I was then instructed to drive up to the window. I was ready to be handed a bag containing a pair of fried donkey wombat egg rolls with strawberry tuna peanut sauce — and with my luck, it would be cold.

After waiting another ten minutes for someone who resembled a human being to show up at the window, I asked about the dining room.

“Oh, the dining room is closed for the night.”

“But your sign says that it is open 24 hours,” I countered.

“Nope. Closed.”

I finally was handed a bag with my order and drove to the hotel, where I can enjoy my gourmet meal in the peace and quiet of my room — and it was no Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme, which is where Alexander Bachuwa of The Points of Life stayed and proudly displayed his McDonald’s fare all over the bedspread.


The English language can be rather peculiar at times, with example after example of how a simple phrase, sentence or thought can be easily misinterpreted…

…but I read that sign over and over and over again — and my interpretation remains the same to this day. That sign tells me that the dining room and drive through are open 24 hours.

Was I too blinded by hunger to read this sign correctly? Is there an anomaly of the English language in the way the verbiage of this sign was worded that I missed? Perhaps the sign is referring to a dining room and drive through elsewhere other than that specific McDonald’s restaurant in Hinton? Could the sign be left over from the days when the dining room inside of the restaurant really was open 24 hours per day?…

…or did I interpret the sign correctly — only to find that it was blatantly wrong?

Photographs ©2017 by Brian Cohen.

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