Chickens have little to fear from me. I won’t order them (nor will I order them around). I will not eat them in a sub, I will not eat them in a tub. Just no. Basically, I’m a chicken-friendly zone unlike, say, Buffalo. Or so I thought.
One of B.’s and my habits during the summer is to play dinner by ear. No real plans, no menu carefully thought out beforehand, no big deal. Sometimes it’s a bowl of Cheerios. Or ice cream. Or Cheerios over ice cream.
The other evening though, we actually decided to act like responsible adults and think ahead to what the future of our dinner life might look like. We opted for takeout with a pizza, a meatball parm hero, and two salads (no three-bean combo, no onions) from our usual place, figuring that that would work for dinner, the next day’s lunch, and dinner again (maybe with a slice or two left over for an impromptu breakfast).
We fell into our usual pattern, my calling in the order and B. dropping me off outside the pizza place (because there’s no parking on the city street) and driving around the block a couple of times while I went inside to pick it up. (Driving around this block frequently entails our circling the movie studios where you never know what – or whom – you’ll see).
The aromas in the restaurant were so enticing that I felt like grabbing a slice out of the box right there and then. That might have made all the difference in what was to come. But no, I carried the pizza box and the bags of food outside and waited impatiently for B. to come get me.
It was hot and the order was getting really heavy – a lot heavier than usual. Curious, given that we’d placed this exact order many times before and I’d never noticed the weight.
At long last my knight in shining armor pulled up, but this damsel was in no mood to be charmed. Distress ensued. With the trunk popped open, I needed to balance my carefully piled food in one hand while pulling the trunk fully open with the other. A precarious balancing act if ever there was one, particularly since I was trying to avoid having my foot run over by the stream of too-avid cyclists riding by at just that moment.
Finally, I got the food settled inside – not without the pizza almost ending up mozzarella side down – and myself settled in the car. Now I was tired and hot on top of being hungry. Not a good look for me.
He: You missed some cool stuff at the studios.
He: It looked like they were getting ready for something really big. All these trailers and tons of crew. Maybe they’re shooting that movie we –
Me: (not in the mood to hear it) Right.
Me: Are you kidding? (deep breath) You want to talk about how you were enjoying watching studio stuff from the air-conditioned car while I was standing in the heat waiting for you for like half an hour while holding a ton of food?
He: It was only a few minutes.
Me: (after looking at the car clock and realizing I had only been waiting about five minutes) That’s not the point. It weighs a TON.
He: (insisting on being logical) It can’t weigh that much – it’s just a pizza, a sandwich, a couple of –
Me: Really?! You’re going to estimate how much each item weighs?
He: But I –
Me: Shut up or the pizza gets it.
A pause, then:
He: Are you sure you ordered the right things? Because it smells different.
Me: (agitation setting in) Are. You. Sure. You. Want. To. Continue. This. Conversation?
End of conversation.
Once we got home B. grabbed the items out of the trunk and conceded, “You were right – these are heavy.” Imagine that. Having passed beyond-hunger in the rear view mirror awhile ago, we both knew it was time to feed me. Fast.
Or not so fast. Because instead of a large cheese pizza, it turned out that our takeout included an extra-large pizza covered with ham and pineapple with a few olives scattered on top (come on, that’s just such an affront). Instead of two plain garden salads – please hold anything that might resemble a bean or an onion, I’d asked – three salads fully loaded. And – ta da! – instead of one meatball parm sub (half of which I had been fantasizing about for my dinner), two containers (one pound each) of – wait for it – Buffalo chicken wings (ah, the fragrance issue solved). Have I mentioned that I don’t eat chicken?
By this point, I had broken into the Cheerios. The idea of driving back to the restaurant was just too unappealing (almost as unappealing as those wings), but I called anyway, hoping for some kind of credit toward our next order (which I would check completely before leaving there, believe me).
Surprise. Realizing their mistake, the staff couldn’t have been nicer. They delivered our correct order within 15 minutes (you mean they deliver?!).
So to answer the age-old question of why the chicken crossed the road, it wasn’t to get away from me. I’ll venture a guess that in this instance it was to audition for a part as an extra (not crispy) in that new picture.
The plot chickens.
©2021 Claudia Grossman