04 February 2010

If you have watched the movie 'The Pink Panther' ... I can really crack you up when I say "I would like to have a hamburger". Little did I reckon that few days from watching the movie probably a 4th time, I would have to put myself in the same situation. Well, not exactly...

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.
She: ???

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?
Me: Ok!

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?
Me: No

She: Cheese?
Me: Sure

She: You want mayo but no cheese. Dairy ok?
Me: Yeah

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

She: Rice?
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:

Me: Yeah
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!


Janani said...

next try explaining to them that vegetarians also eat pulses, dals, cereals, meat.
we;re vegetarians... not grass grazers!!!

Anonymous said...

This is a potentially viral post! Would you mind if I re-post this elsewhere (with (un)due credit to the author of course :-))