I had survived a month in this new country. Twenty years, million sitcoms later, I still dread ordering drive through and spelling my name to customer service, thanks to my thick accent. My kids have a ball when I order french fries and get handed over sprite – EVERY SINGLE TIME.
On our way from Detroit to Chicago. I was tired of pretending to know how to read the map from AAA and all I wanted was some food and a nap. My friend, being a veteran immigrant for 6 months, convinced me to try a healthier option and dragged me to Subway. I rushed to the restroom and by the time I got in line there were a few people between me and my friend. That was my first tactical mistake. New to the country and trying new food begs for help. Specially if you ate curry and rice your entire life.
I see most in the line on the higher side of the scale. In those days the Subway was famous for eating healthy and losing weight. Well…I hardly see any success stories…. wonder where they all eat now.
Having lived in US for a month now, being naive and single, fast food was the undisputed choice. I was trying to find the numbers in the menu. ‘Number 5, medium with Coke’ was easy. But here in subway I don’t see any numbers. With my thick accent I knew I was in for a long conversation with the lady in gloves.
To play it safe I asked for ‘Veggie delight’. Sandwich maker asks me ‘6 inch or footlong’. Thinking that she was getting too personal, I gawked at her awkwardly. Seeing my clueless expression, she explains, ‘Would you like a 6 inch sandwich or footlong?’. I never thought food could be measured in inches. Anyway, I said ‘foot long’. She asks me ‘What kind of bread?’ I thought to myself, now there were kinds of bread? The only kind I knew was the one in slices.
Then she asks me ‘Cheese?’ This is sounding like a multiple choice test.
Now comes the real food assembly part. She asks me “what would you like on your sandwich?”. I don’t even recognize half the veggies in those bins. Seeing my confusion, she decided to be kind. She pointed to each vegetable and asked me if I wanted it. I said ‘No’ to most, No being the easiest thing to say. She wraps the sandwich.
I pay for the sandwich for which I gave the recipe…..a little disappointed that I was eating something that was neither steaming or smelling. I can actually take apart everything in the sandwich ingredient by ingredient. Human civilization is going backwards I guess.
I grabbed the coke and sat with my friend. Took a bite, choked and reached for the coke to drain it down my throat.
When I reach home, mom calls and surely enough asks what I ate for lunch? I decide to dazzle her with the names of American Subs and what goes into them and what doesn’t…..
After all these years I can’t believe subway is my first choice if I have to grab something real quick. I guess the ‘Eat Fresh’ has caught up with me…