1) I don't eat ham
2) I'm not French and/or stupid
3) I wasn't planning on smuggling the damn burgers out of USA
So it was a usual Thursday noon when the mind was fidgeting between how unfruitful the week was and how welcoming the weekend is. I was starving; my meeting with my mentor wasn't happening; so what's the difference between a dementor and a mentor? As far as I know, both suck the soul out of you ;)
Anyway, darn it! I get so distracted when I type. What was the main point? Oh! I was starving; my meeting with my mentor wasn't happening. I took off for lunch. But where do I go?
a) Indian truck food: Eww! Too many times this week
b) Scaife cafeteria: I'd rather pick and eat worms
c) Somewhere in Forbes: Cool idea!
I walked down Forbes Avenue and stood right in between Subway and McDonald's. Time for a quick mental analysis... logical algorithms at play:
Subway has one veggie sandwich
McDonald's has none that i know of
Subway - I can choose whatever I need... customize!
McDonald's - I might be able to but it ain't easy
Subway - I won't make a fool of myself. I know what I want
McDonald's - High possibility of embarrassment
And so I walked inside... the big red M towered above me!
I guessed it right. No veggie burgers in sight. I cursed McDonald's and walked towards an old lady in the counter who looked menacingly at me. If I don't appear sophisticated, she'll put me into one of the subs and eat me off with mustard sauce. I stylishly flaunted my abilities to switch over to an American accent and the conversation began. The darned conversation began!
Me: I would like to have a veggie burger!
She: You would like to have a ... what?
Me: (adjusts my throat) I would like to have a veggie burger
She: Sir, what's that? I don't know what you are talking about
Me: (huh?) I would like to have a vegetable burger! (Clearly understanding that her blank expressions haven't altered, I went on)... you know just the vegetables; no chicken; no meat.
I made flowery movements using my arms to describe how the lettuce looks like and how the onions and tomatoes are shaped.
She: So you need just the vegetables. No meat. A small burger?
She: What's it called?
Me: A veggie burger
She: A what?
Me: (Oh no!) A vegetable burger
She: Sir, we don't have a veggie burger. But we can make anything you want us to make. So what is it that you want?
Me: (world peace... can ya give it to me? Start off by pointing directions to the nearest subway or a mental asylum, whichever is closer) A burger with ONLY vegetables like tomatoes, onions and lettuce; no chicken or meat
She: Ok. (She calls out to the manager and repeats what I said)
Manager: He gives us our meat back, so give him extra tomatoes
She: You don't want mayo on it?
She: You want mayo but no cheese. Dairy ok?
She: (stares at me with awaited expressions)
Me: (thinking i need to say something) Ketchup!
She: (she looks aghast as though I just stepped on her toes)
Me: Ketchup instead of mayo
She: Ketchup in your burger?
Me: (no, in your %$&*) Yes
She: Ok. Sir, what do I bill your burger as?
Me: (stares blankly)
She: (annoyed) She asks me if I need anything else
Me: Small fries
Me: Potato fries; small (i point to the chart with my little hands)
She: Is that all sweet heart?
Me: (a moment's shocked expression) Uh...hmmm... yeah!
Why the heck do all these people address me with "sweet heart", "honey", "kiddo" and all that? I'm doing a frikking PhD here, am not a low-budget child celebrity!
She: Swipe your card in there son
Me: (son... I sure don't resemble you in any way) (swipes)
She: You want you receipt?
Now normally I don't take the receipt coz its useless anyway. Not like my mentor is gonna reimburse me for eating burgers during lab hours. But for some reason, for some weird reason, perhaps I was too tensed as too many heads had turned already and the whole thing was turning into one big scene, and the entire world had come to a standstill to watch the touring circus and the joker, I said:
She: You want the receipt???
This time her voice screeched as though I was asking for her breast size. But if I said 'no' now, I would look even more funny
Me: Yes (i so damn need it now! I need it more than my burger)
She: Ok sir (taken aback by my persistence and conviction)
I finally get the damn burger and out I ran with such great speed that even the fastest land animals would be humbled. I made a mental pact that I'll never ever step into McDonald's again even if there was a nuclear holocaust and the entire earth collapsed and McDonald's was the only place I could find food in
I sat down and took a little bite of the burger. Music filled the air, violins played behind my back, spring was back in Pittsburgh and my eyelids fluttered like the wings of a butterfly. Damn you lady! I'm coming back for you... and i'll keep coming until you have the damn veggie burger up in your menu list. But presently, I chew on the burger and...
I'm lovin' it!