Yesterday I went to lunch with a vendor who happens to be from India. We went to a Thai restaurant close to the office. He ordered vegetable fried rice, four stars, no egg, no tomato. I thought, "Oh I love fried rice!" and since I always want what other people are eating, I said I wanted the same thing but I’ll take his egg.
The waitress, not in any way, shape, or form an ESL student at any point in her lifetime or her parent’s lifetime, looked at me. Pencil poised above her order pad, she took a breath and blinked. “So, you want meat?”
I smiled this smile I have that if you know me in real life, you have seen. It is the smile that says, “I’m going to be patient with you now” and I become very polite. I explained that I didn’t want meat, I would like an extra egg in my fried rice.
My dining companion took over. He explained that he wanted the vegetable fried rice with no egg, but I like egg so I wanted an extra egg, but no meat.
“So you want the fried rice with no egg?”
Now I don’t want anyone to think this was a slack-jawed, glassy eyed, hunchbacked and barefooted child from the wild mountains of Iowa. No indeed, she seemed pretty sharp and within her eyes I could see wit and the starry light of intelligence.
We were frustrating her.
I said, with a friendly wave of my left hand, “Let’s start over completely. I want the vegetable fried rice with no meat.” I paused. “And then if it is OK, I would like an extra egg scrambled into the fried rice.”
She said ok and quickly jotted something in waitress shorthand on her pad. I assumed it was waitress shorthand for “pick it off the floor and spit in it with a side of cucumber” but I was willing to take my risks.
Lunch arrived and we dug in. I quickly realized I had gotten vegetable fried rice with tomatoes, no meat and no extra egg. It was also FOUR STARS.
Hot is what I mean.
I’m telling you about spicy.
My dining friend looked at me and said, “Oh my, no. Caron you cannot eat that.” I laughed and said I would give it a try. He was very concerned as he added crushed up chili pepper compote to make his four-star rice even hotter. “Are you going to be ok with that?” he asked. I breathed in through my mouth and nodded.
I ate most of it and brought leftovers back to the office. I finished it mid-afternoon. I didn’t feel great all evening, which is a twisted way of saying I wish I hadn't, but it wasn't enough to kill me. I woke up in the middle of the night with a wee headache.
I went for a three-mile run this morning before work and that’s when it really hit me. I could feel that dang spice in my nose, throat and eyes. It was ugly, but I made it the whole three miles before bursting into the house and jumping into the shower as fast as possible. Obviously another running victory.
Eat wisely, folks.