Saturday, September 2

The Meat Man

Nearly every day I eat at Subway. It's a habit borne of my inability to pack a lunch for myself coupled with the crushing convenience of having a Subway a mere elevator ride away from my desk at work.

I've had this routine for more than a year now. Yikes, way more than a year.

Which means I'm in there entirely too much. I've endured ribbing from co-workers about how my lunch habits keep Subway in business. (It's probably not an inaccurate thing to say.) But seriously, it is a lot of work to pack a lunch every day when a) you can't cook and b) you never have groceries anyway. And leaving the office for a half-hour lunch is often more trouble than it's worth (if I even have a good time to get away, that is).

I've spent more time than I care to calculate gazing lovingly through the sneeze guard, surveying the wilting, room-temperature sandwich accoutrements, wondering if I could die from ingesting the "marinara sauce," or if I didn't die, if there'd be enough evidence of its poisonous effects to sue. On multiple occasions I've tapped my foot for a good ten minutes while waiting for the sandwich artist to get of the phone and make his or her appearance behind the counter. Some people come in and yell or knock on the counter to get service. I simply wait and watch TV (it's usually set to "Maury," BET, or -- my favorite -- "Good Times"). There is no reason to agitate the person whose hands -- though thinly and plasticly gloved they may be -- will be touching my uncooked food. No reason at all.

There is one sandwich artist these days (they change guard several times a year) who I swear had never seen a Subway sandwich in his life before he began working at Subway. This kid simply can't grasp the Subway way to make a sandwich. Instead of folding the little deli slices of meat over into cute little meat tunnels and staggering them along the length of the bread, he plops three identically shaped slices of meat on top of each other -- flat -- so that a full fourth of bread isn't even covered with meaty goodness.

Today his shenanigans earned him a nickname: The Meat Man.

I ventured away from my fallback -- turkey and cheese on wheat, which, to his credit, the kid has memorized, even down to the lettuce and pickles part -- and ordered a club, which is an unholy combination of turkey, roast beef, and ham. I won't eat ham or roast beef in any other context but a Subway club, and that's only because the meat-slice ratio has been very carefully calculated to not suck: two turkey, two roast beef, one ham. So when the kid started very generously piling on slice after slice after slice of each -- three ham, three turkey, two roast beef, all flat -- I got a little nervous, but didn't stop him because, well, I honestly just wanted to see how much meat he could stack up on my bread without realizing how carried away he was getting.

So he wrapped up the monstrous thing and shoved it in a plastic bag along with my chips, and I did my best but couldn't quite make it through the entire thing, it was so meaty. I mean, it was disgustingly, disturbingly meaty.

The Meat Man won this round.

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