Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Sound of Triumph

Yesterday was the first day that I ate at the cafeteria in the bank where I work. I had no idea what I was doing. I had been told that one can purchase two sides of vegetables rather than ordering the entree, but I didn't see where the sides where. I started panicking because it was almost my turn in the queue. There were a lot of people piling up behind me, so I had to make a decision. I couldn't wait anymore. The chef was looking at me. "What'll it be, bub?!" Oh no! "Uh...I'll...I'll have the Rachel sandwich!"

I said it so fast and loud that the kitchen hushed for a moment. I'm sure my neck turned scarlet. I quickly looked at the floor and ignored everyone until someone tapped my shoulder.

"Hey, she didn't hear you. What are you ordering?"

I said it again, quieter this time, and she asked if I wanted cheese. Yeah, sure.

As I watched her prepare my sandwich, I started thinking about my restrictive diet. I don't eat meat. I don't eat dairy. If it weren't for eggs, I'd be vegan, really. Then I watched her smother my rye bread with 1000 Island dressing. She was getting ready to put the cheese on my sandwich when I realized that I have to be at work for at least another 4 hours. How will I survive if I eat a bunch of food that my body will surely reject?

"May I retract my request for cheese?"


"No cheese, please."

"Oh, sure."

I got my sandwich. It came with fries, which I was not expecting. I love fries. I went to pay for it. Another line of people who knew how to work the system. I noticed they all were paying cash. Interesting. What a different mindset we live in. I can't imagine carrying cash with me when I can just use my card. Oh well. Different strokes, am I right? Here you go, nice cashier lady. You take my card and I'll take my food.

"We don't accept cards here."

That explains the different mindset crap. And I thought I was being so philosophical.

I set my food down and went running to the ATM. I come back and wait in line again. I got my food and finally I made it to the river - my favorite lunch spot.

I opened my box of food hesitantly. Maybe I shouldn't have ordered this. I don't know how my body will react to it, and I don't want to spend the rest of my shift...shall we say, "indisposed"?

Well, I had forgotten my lunch that morning, so I needed to eat something. I wasn't able to take my time through the cafeteria, so there I was, sitting next to the river with a sandwich of meat and dairy-based sauce. I dove in head first.

My first sensation was delicious sauerkraut exploding over my taste buds. Then the thousand island came to mix a gentle harmony climaxing to the victorious arrival of hot grilled turkey. It was intoxicating. I couldn't help noticing my anxiety melt into a small, pitiful form of loss. How have I lived all summer without eating animals and their byproducts?

I ate fast. I couldn't look up or take my time to savor it. It was too delicious to wait. I could look at the river later; right now Brother Bear is eating!

As usual, I was reminded why I make the dietary choices I do after eating said lunch. There are things that my stomach and taste buds just will not agree on, and my stomach almost always wins the the battle. Yesterday my taste buds were rewarded for their persistance with the delights of meat and dairy. In nearly no time at all, my stomach lashed back in avengence.

Sweet, sweet vengence.

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