The sweetest thing

All this week, I’ve been really good with my training plan. Eating… meh. I mean, I do eat, that’s not the problem. I just had no desire to meal-prep whatsoever and made do with what was on the way. The gentleman at the Subway on my way to work made me rethink my training-induced laziness. Today, the owner would prepare my sandwich, nay… may salad (my freshly dryer-dried jeans insisted on some leafy greens). Never putting my jeans in the dryer again!

As the happy Vietnamese owner put on his plastic gloves like a surgeon and explained three times that he was waiting for the chicken to heat up, he just sort of stared at me… and then the salad bar… and then me… and then the salad bar… We both waited for the microwave/oven to “bing” in awkward togetherness. I’m sure he was trying to be charming at 6.30 AM, but what he did next will forever prevent me from ordering another Subway salad ever. It was my first time, too.

Since the staring-move clearly made no impression on me (I still smiled, nodded, I am polite!), he told me a story. If you’ve been to Subway, you know how the sandwich artists have to look at you in order to read your lips and figure out what you want – the plexiglass partition seems to function as a perfect noise protector. Good when you live by the 10 to the 405, not so much when ordering customized food.

It works both ways too – you don’t know what they’re asking you. You just assume based on the context: Bread? – Sure, honey oat or wheat. Cheese? – Why of course, provolone, thank you. Toasted? -Uh-huh.

If they sneak in a surprise question like “How’s your day goin’ so far?” and you answer “Provolone”, I’m sure they would manage. It’s strictly business.

As the owner told me a story, I caught little bits and pieces here and there but was too tired and frankly, not interested enough to further inquire. His accent and speed didn’t help the situation (I’m saying this with all due respect as I have an accent myself). I just went with it, smiled, nodded and watched him closely as he chopped my tomatoes.

How nice, I thought, he’s probably telling me a story about his family and how they came to the US, their connection to the food industry and that he’s now able to do what he has always wanted to do.

In my flow of not paying attention, I suddenly saw him looking at me, shaking his head and mumbling “Aww, sour patches, they made me vomit.”

You know when you fall asleep during a movie or an episode of a show and you wake up three episodes later, wondering why Netflix hasn’t asked you THIS time if you wanted to continue watching?! Yea, this was it.

Honestly, I think that’s probably among the top 5 awkward and out-of-context things you can say to someone while making their salad (I chose my wording wisely here!).


I stared at him blankly. So apparently, I had not only misinterpreted his honest and lovely family history, but COMPLETELY missed the connection to sour patches (my favorite movie candy next to junior mints, btw… WAS).

My reaction was nothing more than a couple of “oh, oh… hmm.. ok” ‘s. He was persistent: “Do you like sour patches?” I diiiiiiiid…. I hesitated.

I wanted to say “You know, if I could, I would bathe in sour patches. Then I would suck the sugar off of each one and fall into a happy numb-blue-tongue sugar-induced coma that lasts for days.” At the movie theater where I used to work, we regularly snagged sour patches and Swedish fish from the plastic containers every time we walked by. Huh… and there’s my connection between sour patches and movies.

“I guess”, I responded.

The owner kept shaking his head vigorously as he was mixing the concoction that was supposed to be my lunch while he exclaimed “BLAGHH”, sticking his tongue out in disgust of sour patches. It must’ve been a serious trauma for him. I was surprised he didn’t regurgitate right into my salad asking what kind of dressing I preferred.

So for one, the salad was everything I expected it to be. It tasted exactly like every Subway sandwich but without the bread. Also, I accept everyone’s opinion and taste and preference in candy. BUT…  do not dis the sour patch!!!

My coworker and I took our lunch around noon, and she stared at me “You don’t seem to enjoy your salad too much”. I didn’t. It went straight into the trash.

I vow to prepare my own lunch next week.



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