SOMETIMES YOU JUST
HAVE TO EAT
My wife and I were on a road trip last weekend and it was time
for lunch. As usual, that was a problem.
"What do you feel like eating?" I asked, cringing,
knowing the same answer as always was coming.
"Something healthy," she replied.
Here we go. We were on the freeway in the middle of nowhere.
'Something healthy' didn't exist. Every exit was an invitation to fast food
Heaven, or Hell, depending on your tastes.
She preferred to call it Hell. I'm no fast food junkie, but
I'll eat anything in moderation, and I was getting hungrier by the minute.
"How about a nice sandwich at Subway?" I asked, spotting the
familiar sign that is patronized by half the world.
"EWWWWW!" she cried. "You've got to be kidding.
I hate sandwiches, especially ones with processed meat."
I went through the list of possibilities that we might see in
the next 30 minutes of driving. Her reactions didn't surprise me: McDonalds
("Gross"), Burger King ("I'd rather die"), Carl's Jr.
("Disgusting"), Taco Bell ("No comment"), Panda Express
("Are you joking?"), Jack in the Box ("Kill me now.")
and finally, in desperation, Kentucky Fried Chicken ("I want a
It was pretty clear I was going to starve. Unless I pulled off
the road and knocked on a farm door and asked for their latest pickings
(after first checking to see if they used any pesticides), I wasn't going to
eat for awhile.
Of course, I could stop on my own at a fast food place and
order only for me, but that's not how marriages work. We were in this
together, and I was determined to only make one stop that would please both
of us. I simply had to wait her out, as usual.
It's not that I have anything against healthy food. I like
healthy food. That's because I like all food. My wife is the opposite. She
shops organic, checks ingredients, and is highly critical of anything that
doesn't meet her exalted standards. It makes for constant battles over where
to eat, which was what was happening on this road trip.
"You know," I said for the hundredth time,
"every meal doesn't have to be a dining experience."
"I just don't like eating crap," she responded for
the hundredth time. "There must be something out here that is
"You're right," I said. "Keep your eyes out for
a Quinoa and Alfalfa Sprouts drive thru."
She didn't find that humorous. We stopped for gas and I went
into the mini-mart and looked longingly at the packaged sandwiches in the
fridge with white bread and processed turkey and cheese. I thought about
buying one, but I didn't want to take the abuse when I brought it back to
I bought a Snickers bar instead, just enough to keep me alive
until we found a healthy place for lunch, which of course didn't exist. But
I also knew that if I was starving, she was starving, too. And it was only a
matter of time before she broke.
Sure enough, after seven more exits of looking forlornly at
various fast food outlets that she wouldn't patronize unless there were no
other options, she gave up. The last chance freeway sign warning "Next
services 26 miles" put her over the top.
There was only one exit left before starvation. I pulled off
the freeway and the Golden Arches loomed before us. The only other option on
this exit was a Taco Bell, and she quickly made it clear she wasn't in the
mood for Mexican food. McDonalds it would be. Reluctantly. Very reluctantly.
Athletes that we were, we nixed the drive thru and chose to
park and walk the 20 steps into the restaurant, thus gaining valuable
exercise before downing a glut of calories. We strode right to the counter
and the nice young woman asked what we would like.
My wife perused the menu with disdain and considered ordering a
salad, but was not happy with the dressing choices, which she deemed
unhealthy. I could see the look of horror on her face.
"Give me a Big Mac," she said to the nice young
woman. "And a medium fries and a Diet Coke."
Total surrender. I ordered my meal and we took it all back to
the car, to eat on the road. I glanced over as she hungrily devoured her Big
Mac. I think she liked it, but I'll never know.