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Adventures in Fine Dining

So. I asked the cashier at Taco Time to throw away my old Taco Time cup from the last time I was in Seattle, and that’s where the trouble started.

Her face registered deep disgust. She turned around, grabbed a plastic glove to protect herself from my contagion (fair enough, I had a cold), took the cup and tossed it away, took off the sanitary glove, took my payment, then handed us the bag with our order.

And off we went to catch the ferry.

So we go down the hill and get in line, with the help of a lady walking a collie. She saw me waiting to hang a U-turn as traffic stopped for her and her dog crossing the street, and she ordered me, “Go ahead! Get in line!” She walked back INTO the street, holding up her free hand in the “Stop” gesture to northbound cars, and told me to pull in to the (still stopped) southbound cars. I did what she said, the cars parted like the Red Sea for Moses, and I zipped over to the curb to the ferry line.

I am so grateful to that woman and her collie I can’t tell you. She was my saint du jour, and she had no reason to do it - she just took it upon herself to get a stranger safely into the ferry line. Which the more I think about it, the more awesome it is.

Okay. So now we dig out our food and start to eat. My favorite meal at Taco Time is the chicken tostado salad with ranch dressing.

I opened the box, looking forward to my feast, and asked Benny, “Is there by any chance a fork in that bag?”
He looked inside, reached in and moved the remaining items around, and said, “No.”

Now, there is no way to know if the cashier left the fork out on purpose because I asked her to dispose of my drink, or if it got left out because I broke her routine of cash/plastic in, food orders out. Who knows?

But I had been the beneficiary of an act of uncalled-for generosity from the woman with the collie, and I wasn’t going to let the lack of fork come between me and my salad.

I decided I’d eat it with my fingers, that being all I had available to transport food to mouth.

I quickly realized that I was only able to grab rather small pieces with my thumb and forefinger (mind you, I’m also driving down the hill as the line moves, so I keep handing the salad box to Benny and taking it back). It caused me to reflect that this particular pinching motion was probably evolved to pick parasites off my friends.

I’ve seen movies of monkeys picking over one another often enough. I think part of the preening is that you get to eat the parasites, but I’m not sure. As a homo sapiens (which makes me laugh because I am neither a man nor wise) I don’t use this marvelous pinching action for its original function. I’d lose what friends I had if I tried, too. They seem to be a pretty parasite-free bunch, and some, I know, would be offended if I subjected them to an unasked-for louse reconnaissance.

But I digress.

A chicken tostado salad with ranch dressing is not something that can be eaten by hand without a lot of messiness. Fortunately I am not much bothered by messiness (oh, be quiet), so I sat in my car and pinched my drippy chicken, refried beans, tomatoes, shredded cheese, fried tortilla bowl, and lettuce into my mouth as well as I could. There were a few misses, but mostly I hit the target, and as I got nearer the bottom where the chicken chunks were I could grab larger lumps of food.

I finished up my primitive dining on the ferry dock, and cleaned up as well as I could with Taco Time napkins. The cashier did give us a good half dozen of those.

Eating salad by hand is not for the fastidious.

Look, I’ve worked as a cashier and I have sympathy. I remember being handed some object by a mother which she had just removed from her toddler’s mouth. Eeyew. But I was a mother of toddlers once, so I have to have sympathy there, too.

But the guy who handed me a piece of used pipe that actually had poop in it - I still have no sympathy for him. Boy, I wish I’d had a box of plastic protective gloves to put on that day.