System Error


i, a vegetarian of 10 years, just consumed about 1 pint of chicken shreds. a dare, you ask? a challenge for cash, mayhaps?

no, i was just trying to eat my flipping lunch. i asked for BEANS instead of CHICKEN on my burrito bowl. a few of your raise your eyes and chuckle as you think of bowel jokes. WELL, hos and gs, BEANS don’t have feathers or beaks, OK?! yes, that is my big problem with poultry. the feathers. and the beaks.

no those particular parts aren’t served in dishes. but in my mind, every piece of grilled, roasted and/or fried poultry might as well have feathers and a beak. the rustling and the squawking. pecking away at my conscience. i can hear it.

so anyway, stupid naive me. thinking today would pose no greater challenge than staying awake asked for the replacement of frijoles for pollo at everyone’s favorite local mexican fast food joint. i ordered my lunch. picked up my to-go bag and was on my merry way.

10 minutes later, back at work, i find that there are indeed beans in my salad. but there are also giant fibrous white and brown grill-marked amorphous chunks happily frolicking without a care all through the fields of romaine leaves and the township of cheese and bean citizens.


i don’t even consider going back. i don’t have time. i don’t have patience. i hate being that customer who comes back. yeah, sometimes you have to be, but not today. not today, dammit!

so i start sifting through the remains like an archaeologist digging for fossilized nutrients. i heft some lettuce up. it tastes barbequey. but that’s just flavor. so far so good. i spear a bean and a cheese strand. or so i think. but it turns out to be a chicken strand. the first few times, i cough it back up. overshare? oh it’s only the beginning. don’t forget i’m also sitting next to a new coworker who shares our workspace and she has to see how i eat. maybe she thinks i’m bulimic. i can only hope. i don’t think she much cares for any of it though.

after a few more incidents of chewing and chewing and being like, oh that tastes like something i once had 10 years ago, i start losing momentum and appetite.

once my lunch has turned into a wasteland of desiccated chicken chunks, strands and refugee bean families, having gotten through lettuce and guacamole without any altercations, i had to throw in the lunch napkin. i kept trying, but i had to finally internally foghorn myself, “PUT THE FORK DOWN, NANCHERLA. the battle is over. you LOST.”

my coworker stopped by during this whole debacle to ask me about something. he kind of stared at the mountain of birdmeat in my lunch container. he knows i am not partial to it. i felt like saying “it’s a fun game i like to play. you know, mix things up. kind of similar to pick-up sticks.”

i’m going to go cry/faux-gag now.

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