Tuesday, June 16, 2009

So then that happened at Subway ...

I was having a regular old 6-inch ham and turkey with cheddar on Italian herb and cheese day. I snagged a strategic table (as close to the back of Subway as possible), even taking the direction I would be facing into consideration (the least amount of customers within my sight line).

I opened my sandwich, opened my book, began eating, and took a bite.

Less than two nibbles and a page later, I was assaulted by the most awful of fouls. An elderly man, pushing a walker, lowered himself into the seat across from me. At my square of a two-square table. I had to fold the edges of my sandwich wrapper to make room for him AND his 6-inch meatball sub or whatever.

In a world filled with obsessive compulsions, I have one debilitating neurotic tic and it is exclusive to Subway: I cannot look at someone who is eating a sub. I don't care who you are, at some point your mouth is going to fall open and I'm going to see your rolling tongue coated in mayonnaise.

You're going to laugh and I'm going to see a black olive clinging to a molar.

A sliver of spinach wedged between your teeth.

You're going to lick that stream of sweet onion sauce off your arm.

And without fail, there will be shredded lettuce somewhere on your face. Most likely the corner of your mouth, but there is also the potential for it to creep into your bangs.

But mostly it's the mayonnaise, which is coated on every sandwich as though it has a 45 SPF.

From the second I round the corner near the sandwich shop, I have to lower my head and avoid eye contact with anyone in the windows. I have to find a seating arrangement where I am least-likely to stare off into space and accidentally land on someone eating a foot-long Tuna Fish sub and laughing. LAUGHING! Lettuce spraying like confetti, tomato chunks with the velocity of paintball bullets.

(I just gagged).

I don't have this problem at any other restaurants. (Although, I can't even walk through a food court let alone eat in one).

So, the old man ate. I knew if I didn't keep things tight, I'd have front row seats for a marinara blood bath. I played lalalalala in my head so I wouldn't hear his saliva softening the food, and kept my eyes pressed to my book, chin on my chest. When he had finally balled up his wrappers, I agreed to a little conversation:

Him: You just keep studying. Studying is good for you. Course I haven't been in school for forty years. Stay in school.
Me: I'm just reading. I've been out of school for a long time.
Him: Every day I get up and study one thing.
Me: [quizzical head tilt]
Him: Scriptures.

Even if I'm just walking past Subway with no plans for dining, the wrong gaze can put me off their food -- cheap, Jared approved, convenient -- for six months. Those images are powerful. And they linger. In fact, I just broke Subway right now by thinking about it.


Anonymous said...

Now I have Simon & Garfunkel’s hit Sounds of Silence playing in my head, except it is changed to Sounds of Saliva. Thanks!

Katie Abanson said...

I have a hard time with Subway. I used to be a teller at a bank by Miller Hill Mall, and all of the Subways in Duluth banked with us. They'd bring in their deposits and the cash and the deposit bags would reek like their bread and old deli meat with a slight touch of pickles. It was nasty. Now I can't go into a Subway without having olfactory flashbacks. Yuck.

Who sits at the same table as a stranger? Who does that? Especially in taciturn Duluth!

Kristabella said...

This is why I never eat in a Subway. ONLY TO GO.

Also, please tell me there was no other seat open. It creeps me out when people sit at my table when there are 10 other open tables.

It's like when you're in an empty bathroom with 6 stalls and the asshat who comes in after you, takes the stall NEXT to you.

Krupskaya said...

I know exactly what you're talking about. And Katie too. Old sub smell is nasty, and then I associate it with fresh good sub smell, and then I can't eat at Subway for awhile.

Redneck Princess said...

Funny, funny, funny! Your brief description of the encounter yesterday didn't do it justice -- but this has!

OMG Kristabella! The bathroom stall thing mildly enrages me! And another thing: who walks into a a three-stall bathroom and takes the middle stall when the two end stalls are open??????? I don't have stage fright -- I just prefer a little more room between me and another person's urine. Ish.

Anonymous said...

well, now i'm not going to consider eating at subway for another year or two. -your friend Fannie

chuck said...

One of my old apartments was right behind a Subway. I'd look out my window every day and see the workers throwing away huge bags of loaf-shaped bread dough. Inevitably, the seagulls would drag the bags out of the dumpsters where they'd start expanding in the sun. You'd see these giant bloated loafs encased in cellophane sitting there on the blacktop, surrounded by gorging seagulls in a yeasty cloud. I always imagined that the dough would keep expanding in their stomachs until they exploded.

jl said...

I've been boycotting Subway ever since they started that horrendous "five-dollar footlong" campaign. This is hard to do, since there is a Subway on nearly every corner. Subway was the ONLY U.S. chain restaurant I saw in Belize. They are everywhere. But I won't go in.

elissa said...

omg, so gross. so funny. so true.